Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said Thursday the federal government has a right to have California return the money it was given to build a high-speed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Ms. Chao said California dramatically changed its plans under the original contract signed in 2017, since the state now is only building the rail between two rural communities.

She said out of the $3 billion allotted to the project of federal funds, the state still hasn’t received $929 million, which she says the Trump administration will keep.

She also said out of the roughly $2.5 billion already transferred to the state, California has until March 5 to make its case on why the funds shouldn’t be returned.

“This is a classic example of bait and switch,” Ms. Chao said. “We have a right to ask for that $2.5 billion dollars back.”

President Trump and California Governor Gavin Newsom sparred over this issue earlier in February. Mr. Newsom rejected the president’s demand to repay the government.

“This is CA’s money, allocated by Congress for this project,” he tweeted. “We’re not giving it back.”

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