The Trump administration cancelled nearly $1 billion Thursday in federal money for California's high-speed rail project, further throwing into question the future of the ambitious plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately pledged to take the administration to court, though the state has not yet filed a lawsuit.
The "action is illegal and a direct assault on California," Newsom said in an emailed statement. "This is California's money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court."
The official word of the funding cancellation by the Federal Railroad Administration came several months after President Donald Trump first threatened to withdraw it.
His comments came in response to Newsom shifting the project's immediate focus to a 171-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley, saying there currently wasn't a path for the full line.
Newsom later said he was still committed to building the entire line but wanted to take a "building blocks" approach that first created a working line in the Central Valley.
The state has only about $20 billion available for the project at this time, far short of the estimated $77 billion it would take to complete it.
With files from the Associated Press