Obama administration gives 4-year extension to Calif. bullet train project

Obama administration gives 4-year extension to Calif. bullet train project

The Obama administration on Wednesday extended the schedule for the construction of a stretch of the California bullet train project by four years, congressional officials confirmed.

The extension for the construction of 118 miles of bullet train link through the Central Valley was provided through modification of a $2.5-billion grant that originally required the rail link from Madera to Shafter to be completed by 2017.

The change, which provided the rail project another crucial lifeline, also allowed the Department of Transportation to extend a cash advance to California. It simple words, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (California HSRA) will be able to continue spending long after the original deadline that was set under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act in 2009.

While the Democrats welcomed the change, the Republicans were prompt to criticize it. The critics argued that the Obama administration gave the high-speed rail project an undue concession.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), the chairman of the House rail subcommittee, said, “This is the oversight agency that is supposed to monitor taxpayer money. For them to give a blank check and authorize a cash advance is a clear conflict of interest.”

The rail authority defended the grant modification and four-year extension saying the change was largely a technical fix necessary to accommodate recent amendments to its business plan.

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