The biggest boondoggle in California history is now underneath the microscope of the U. S. Section of Transportation as costs continue to keep climb on a multi-billion dollar high speed rail project that routinely does not show for deadlines and blows through funds.
The DOT is currently auditing the particular pricey West Coast venture- some thing critics claim is long past due on what’ s essentially an animal project that’ s billions in debt, seven years behind schedule plus appears to have no plausible way of living as much as its goal of getting riders over the state in three hours or even less.
The audit was required by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and began in April. An index of preliminary findings is expected come july 1st with a final report due within the fall.
Denham asked for a review of the prior administration’ s oversight of federal government expenditures. His office told Sibel News they want to know if every precautions and risk analysis had been taken to ensure the state’ t finances were viable to meet their particular non-federal match requirements. The office states while they hope the federal government didn’ t break the law, they are worried that proper safeguards weren’ capital t in place.
According to the DOT, the inspector general’ s audit will examine the particular Federal Railroad Administration’ s oversight of nearly $3. 5 billion dollars in federal grant money granted to the project.
The OIG may “ assess FRA’ s (1) risk analysis, assessment and minimization efforts – particularly regarding the accessibility to non-Federal matching funds, business programs, and financial reporting – plus (2) procedures for determining regardless of whether federal funds expended complied along with applicable federal laws and regulations. ”
The topic train project was sold in order to voters in 2008 as a $33 billion ride from San Francisco in order to Los Angeles in 3 hours or even less.
‘We can’ t allow this boondoggle continue. ‘
“ Since then, the project has been scaled back dramatically by lopping from the Sacramento and San Diego segments whilst ballooning the estimated cost through $77 billion to $98 billion dollars, ” Denham told Fox.
This individual adds that currently the High-Speed Train Authority has “ no total or viable funding plan. ”
Initially, funding for the project was said to be done through bonds, federal money and private investment. However , the cash from private investment never really materialized and the cost of the entire project increased at every turn.
“ Continuing to show a blind eye to the insufficiencies of this project is not acceptable whenever you’ re playing with taxpayer bucks, ” Denham said.
In 2013, for instance , the project awarded its 1st contracts for construction on the route through Fresno to Madera counties. The price to move power lines, construction wires and other utility components out of the way has been estimated to be around $25 mil.
In five years, that number provides jumped to nearly $400 mil.
The rising price tag has motivated concern for critics.
“ Topic train cheerleaders and their allies in the California Legislature have worked difficult to conceal the true status of the task as well as its viability, ” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said.
Coupal says auditing the “ out of control boondoggle” can “ help to avoid similar financial train wrecks in the future. ”
“ We can’ t allow this boondoggle continue, ” he or she said. “ I plan to keep on providing aggressive oversight and preventing all federal funding until the task is under control. ”
In addition to the federal government researching the high-speed rail project, their state is also conducting a review.
“ We are going to cooperate fully in this and every other audit of our funding or plan, ” Brian Kelly, chief executive officer from California High-Speed Rail Authority, mentioned in a statement. “ We look ahead to working closely with our federal companions to deliver the nation’ s 1st truly high-speed system. ”
But generally there apparently aren’ t too many people still left who believe that’ s an affordable reality.
“ This so-called bullet teach is a solution in search of a problem which is plagued by billions of dollars in price overruns and fiscal mismanagement, ” San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey informed Fox News earlier this year, adding how the billions wasted on the project “ could have been invested in our current facilities needs, such as water storage, ton control, highways and bridges. ”
Whilst supporters say the project need to continue because so much money had been spent, others say it’ ersus time to cut and run.