Lawmakers Demand Answers about Troubled High Speed Rail Project

State News

Lawmakers today grilled leaders of the state’s high speed rail project.

Following a critical state audit, lawmakers are demanding answers about the bullet train that would run from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

The High Speed Rail Authority in the hot seat with lawmakers Thursday following a scathing state audit.

“I think the public should be concerned about the project,” said state auditor Elaine Howle. 

The $77 billion project aims to build a bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
State auditor Elaine Howle found within the project high turnover among staff, a lack of business documentation, and little oversight of those who manage the project’s contracts.

“If I had put a grade on it i would say it’s very disappointing and i would say it’s correctable and I would say we are correcting it now,” stated Tom Richards with the High Speed Rail Authority Board.

The audit also found project managers would need to double the current workload to meet the 2022 deadline for the rail-line’s segment in the Central Valley. If that deadline isn’t met the state could be on the hook for $3.5 billion  in federal funds. Lawmakers pressed for the authority’s backup plan.

“One alternative of plan B is likely going to be as you would guess is going to our federal rail administration and talk about an extension,” stated Richards. 

“Nothing in this hearing has done anything to raise any of our confidence level that they have the leadership to get this done. We are seeing this project collapse,” said Fresno (Assemblyman Jim Patterson.

A federal audit of the project is also underway.

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