Happening Now

Trump’s Latest Move on High-Speed Rail Breaks Campaign Promises

February 20, 2019

Americans Need Trump to Fulfill Pledge to Become an Infrastructure President

For Immediate Release (19-5)

Contact: Xenophon Strategies - (202) 289-4001

Washington, D.C.—The Rail Passengers Association condemns the Trump Administration’s attempt to claw back federal grant money from the California high-speed rail project. This is a direct reversal of Candidate Trump’s promise to use his experience in the private sector to put Americans to work closing the infrastructure deficit between the U.S. and the rest of the developed world—specifically with regards to high-speed rail.

“President Trump promised to restore ambition to U.S. infrastructure,” said Rail Passengers President Jim Mathews. “You can’t achieve that goal by blowing up the most advanced rail project in the country—the only one currently under construction. It’s a betrayal of the voters, and it’s a betrayal of the more than 2,000 American workers who are right now, today, building this next-generation rail corridor.”

The Trump Administration gives the California High Speed Rail Authority until March 5th to counter the points raised in its de-obligation letter. Rail Passengers believes that the White House should have waited to hear the responses to the questions it raised before making a decision. It is also unclear if the Trump Administration has the legal authority to de-obligate the roughly $2.5 billion in federal grants issued to the project.

“We look forward to hearing the Authority’s response to the letter issued by the Federal Railroad Administration, some of which need answering,” continued Mathews. “But the Trump Administration should have approached this project with an eye towards helping it along and finding ways to improve project delivery. Instead, he appears to have jumped on a misstatement by California’s Governor Newsom to score partisan points. We urge President Trump to put aside his political differences with Governor Newsom, and become the strong federal partner required to make high-speed rail in America a reality.”

Statements made by President Trump on U.S. transportation infrastructure during his campaign for president:

  • "China and these other countries, they have super-speed trains. We have nothing. This country has nothing. We are like the third world. But we will get it going and we will do it properly and, as I say, make America great again."

  • “They have trains that go 300 miles per hour. We have trains that go chug … chug … chug.”

  • “Our airports, bridges, water tunnels, power grids, rail systems—our nation’s entire infrastructure is crumbling, and we aren’t doing anything about it.”

  • “These projects put people to work—not just the people doing the work but also the manufacturers, the suppliers, the designers, and, yes, even the lawyers. The Senate Budget Committee estimates that rebuilding America will create 13 million jobs.”

  • “On the federal level, this is going to be an expensive investment, no question about that. But in the long run it will more than pay for itself.”

  • "We will breathe new life into your very run-down highways, railways, and waterways. We’ll transform our roads and bridges from a source of endless frustration into a source of absolutely incredible pride.

  • “We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports and the railways of tomorrow. This, in turn, will create millions of more jobs.”

About the Rail Passengers Association

The Rail Passengers Association, previously known as the National Association of Railroad Passengers, is the oldest and largest national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.

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