Legislators back the California bullet train Audit

High-Speed Rail Project

The high-speed rail project in California is set to be scrutinized afresh by state auditors. On Tuesday, a panel of legislators approved the new audit of the high-speed rail project amid support from lawmakers from both parties. Elaine Howle, who serves as the state auditor for California has said that her team will take between six and nine months to finalize the audit. Howle has been given the duty to examine and audit the state’s High-Speed Rail Authority’s procedure that contains the costs involved and timeline constraints. The state auditor has also been tasked with the analysis of the economic and environmental impact of the project.

The request for the auditing of the projects comes after cost inflation to the tune of $3 billion for a segment of the rail project at Central Valley which is partially under construction. San Jose Senator Jim Beall who hails from the Democratic Party and Conservative Assemblyman Jim Patterson from Fresno made their support statement for the project’s audit to the joint legislative committee. In the request, the lawmakers wrote that it was incumbent upon the California legislature to offer strong guidance and oversight to ensure that the high-speed rail project was on the right path towards being completed successfully. The lawmakers also noted that they are a critical partner to the delivery of a high-speed rail system to the residents of California.

The request comes at a critical time when a new Chief Executive Officer has been brought on board by the authority to oversee the multi-billion dollar project. The New CEO, Brian Kelley is the immediate former chief executive of the state transportation agency in California. The legislators noted that the only way that the project could be managed effectively was through an audit. The lawmakers noted that the high-speed rail project was by far the biggest and the most complex infrastructural project that has ever been attempted in the entire United States.

The Legislators added that they were hoping to get a better grip on the facts by eliminating the political noise that had rocked the rail project for quite some time now. The project which intends to build a high-speed rail line from L.A to San Francisco has an estimated project cost to taxpayers of over $65 billion more from what it would have cost just ten years ago. The segment between Bakersfield and San Francisco is expected to be complete by the end of 2025 while the rail line to Los Angeles scheduled to commission by the end of 2029.

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