Turlock's U.S. House representative Jeff Denham is a tenacious politician especially when it comes to choking off high-cost rail at the wallet. His office released this news this week
In a vote Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives unanimously passed U.S. Representative Jeff Denham’s (R-Turlock) amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill nullifying the current grant agreement between the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the California High Speed Rail Authority (Authority).
The back story is also in the release
When FRA initially awarded the Authority with nearly $3 billion in federal grant dollars under the federal stimulus package, it entered in to a standard grant agreement with the Authority requiring a dollar for dollar match. This agreement stipulated that for every federal tax dollar spent, the Authority must spend a dollar from a non-federal source. California never came up with the money and subsequently missed payment deadline after payment deadline. In order to avoid violating the Federal Deficiency Act, the FRA quietly amended their grant agreement in December of 2012 to allow for a tapered match – allowing federal dollars to be spent in advance of any matching dollars, despite having no assurances from the Authority that the matching dollars would ever exist. The FRA’s Inspector General has subsequently criticized FRA for jeopardizing federal taxpayer dollars with this scheme. This amendment guarantees that the FRA must enter in to an agreement that requires the Authority to match, dollar for dollar, federal tax dollars in current fiscal years.
So there is to be no "tapered match" which is code for insufficient funds and no slipping from fiscal year to fiscal year which is also code for insufficient funds. Let's hope this keeps weaving it's way through the halls of D.C. otherwise it is "merely guidance".