California sued Tuesday to block the Trump administration from cancelling federal funding for the nation's first high-speed rail train, the latest move in an escalating conflict between the state and the White House.
The lawsuit follows an announcement last week to revoke nearly $1 billion for the California project, and comes months after President Donald Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom argued about the funding on Twitter.
Newsom said the Federal Railroad Administration's decision to deny the money awarded by Congress nearly a decade ago is punishment for the state criticizing Trump's immigration policies. Losing the $929 million would damage the state and Central Valley's economies, he added.
“The decision was precipitated by President Trump’s overt hostility to California, its challenge to his border wall initiatives, and what he called the 'green disaster' high-speed rail project,” the state said in the lawsuit.
The administration is “after us in every way, shape or form,” Newsom told reporters. But, he added, “principles and values tend to win out over short-term tweets."
The Federal Railroad Administration did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment about California’s lawsuit.
California planned to tap the promised funding in 2021, spending it on a rail segment in the Central Valley expected to cost about $12 billion. Newsom scaled back plans for the bullet train to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles this year, citing cost overruns and delays.
Trump criticized the project the day after Newsom's downsizing announcement, about a week before California led 15 states in suing over the president's emergency declaration for border wall funding.
Transportation future: High-speed trains could still be a reality in California – and elsewhere
“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” Trump tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now."
The state has already spent $2.5 billion in federal funding, and the Federal Railroad Administration said it will "consider all options" to have it returned.
California has now sued the Trump administration more than 50 times.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California sues over $1B in canceled high-speed rail funding, escalating feud with Trump administration