U.S. Department of Transportation puts off OK of key $647-million grant related to California's bullet train

The U.S. Department of Transportation has deferred a decision on a $647-million grant that would help Caltrain electrify a section of track between San Jose and San Francisco, a project crucial to California’s struggling high-speed rail project. 

The decision not to approve the grant by a key Friday deadline may be an early sign of the Trump administration's view of the bullet train project. The line is already under construction and will need significant federal funding moving forward.

The delay follows a letter from every Republican member of the California House delegation to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, asking that the grant be put off until an audit of the high-speed rail project is completed.

Caltrain requested the federal money as part of a $2-billion project to replace diesel locomotives with electric trains. The electrification is important to the high-speed rail project because its trains would eventually use the same tracks and electrical system.

ralph.vartabedian@latimes.com

Twitter @rvartabedian

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