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Transportation

In California's Commuter Rail Drama, Nobody's a Winner

Except, ironically, proponents of high-speed rail, the likely target of a major federal grant delay.
Choo-choo-choose me, FTA!
Choo-choo-choose me, FTA!Jeff Chiu/AP Photo

When state governments go to war with Uncle Sam, the direction of contention usually faces one way: conservative states’ rights versus progressive civil rights, as upheld by the federal government. (See: immigration enforcement, same-sex marriage, “bathroom” laws, racial integration, slavery.)

But for the next four years, the biggest scuffle in federalism flips that around. Now it’s California, embattled bastion of progressive ideals, duking it out with President Donald Trump and a Republican-majority Congress. On immigration and climate in particular, the state will be butting heads with the White House, which could have major implications for what it’s able to achieve—especially given the ambitious infrastructure plans California has been long cooking up.