Federal government delays threat to withhold billions in California transit funds

Gov. Brown Signs Legislation At Google HQ That Allows Testing Of Autonomous Vehicles

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California Gov. Jerry Brown looks on during a news conference at Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California.

The federal government is delaying its threat to withhold billions of dollars in California transportation grants while negotiations continue with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration.

The U.S. Department of Labor warned this month that public pension reforms promoted by the Democratic governor appear to violate a federal regulation requiring that transportation agencies protect employees' collective bargaining rights.

But department spokesman Michael Trupo said Friday that the government will delay making decisions about transit grants while it works with Brown's administration to resolve the dispute.

A decision on nearly $268 million in grants to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority was expected Friday. Funding for projects in Orange and Sacramento counties also was jeopardized by the initial warning.

The dispute imperils $1.6 billion in federal money statewide this year alone.

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