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Feds Rebuff California On High-Speed Rail Funding

— The Associated Press reports that federal authorities won’t budge on their requirements that California begin construction of its high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. At issue are federal deadlines and $3.5 billion in funding from the Obama administration.

The Legislative Analyst's Office told the California High Speed Rail Authority earlier this year to try to change the federal requirements. Critics have called the initial Central Valley leg of the rail line “the train to nowhere,” since it goes through sparsely populated areas where ridership will be slim.

See the AP story below.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Federal officials say that a 2012 deadline to start construction of a multibillion-dollar high-speed rail system in California is firm and can't be postponed. The U.S. Transportation Department said in a letter Wednesday to the California High-Speed Rail Authority that regulators have no authority to change the deadline. The department also says it won't allow the state to move the first stretch of track from the Central Valley to a coastal city.

The state Legislative Analyst's Office this month questioned whether the rail authority can effectively manage the massive capital project linking San Francisco with Los Angeles and Anaheim. The report proposed seeking waivers of the deadline and starting point that were conditions for $3.5 billion in federal grants. California rail officials requested clarification on whether waivers were possible.

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