SACRAMENTO (AP) – Lawmakers on Thursday will discuss a scathing audit of California’s ambitious project to build a high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The report released in mid-November found poor contract management and decision-making drove billions of dollars in cost overruns and years of delays.

The project originally slated to cost $40 million now has a $77 billion price tag and is scheduled for completion in 2033, years behind schedule.

Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a fierce critic of the project, and Democratic Sen. Jim Beall requested the audit.

The audit’s results come as Gov. Jerry Brown, a strong defender of the project, is preparing to leave office. Gavin Newsom, his successor, has expressed concern about long-term funding for the plan.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has about $28 billion for the project, short of what’s needed to complete the first segment from the Central Valley to San Francisco.

State auditor Elaine Howle’s report faulted the construction timeline and management structure. The authority broke ground in the Central Valley in 2013, before it had all the land it needed or had relocated necessary utilities. The cost of contracts keeps rising as changes are made.

The audit also found high turnover and little oversight among the roughly five dozen people that manage hundreds of contracts. Many are not state employees and may not have the state’s best interests at heart, the audit found.

Patterson, who requested the audit, plans to question rail officials Thursday about a “Plan B” for the project if completion becomes impossible.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.

Comments (3)
  1. I voted for this in 2008. a 40 million dollar project. Ballooning to over 77 BILLION? There’s more than just this audit that needs to be done since this is obviously draining money that is getting nowhere. I’d openly call this a scandal on state level.

  2. Stan Bennett says:

    The Brown boondoggle has always been “impossible”. It’s first leg is designed to go from no where to no where. It will cost more to ride than to fly and it will take longer to ride than to just drive the same distance. It’s a sham and needs to be canned NOW! The only thing Brown was really great at was wasting tax payer money.

    1. Jack Peiffer says:

      Stan; Well said, if this was ever to have been a logical project, intelligence would have demanded our state employ a consortium of engineers and experts from successful places! France, Japan, China, all have a great deal of expertise and success and should have been engaged to plan, build and finish this project, which they would have done on time and on budget! Sadly our sadly failed governor and legislators of this state allowed incompetent, inexperienced and foolish political appointees to bungle completely this now grossly failed disaster. Another tragic example of the ignorance, failure and corruption of this state. And as one simple example, China, a nation with the same geographical area as our USA now has 8,000 miles of highly successful, safe, efficient and perfectly managed high speed rail! Our failed politicians can not even manage one tiny, tiny link, a true picture of California’s governance!

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