State auditor criticizes high-speed rail project

April 30, 2010

A new report by State Auditor Eileen Howle raises serious concerns about California’s plan to build a multi-billion dollar high-speed rail line to connect major cities. [California Watch]

The report, commissioned last year by the Legislature, accuses the California High-Speed Rail Authority of making overly optimistic budget projections, submitting inaccurate progress reports, and consistently failing  to document millions of dollars of work allegedly performed by contractors.

In one example, the report cites an incident where officials “misused public funds” when it purchased $46,000 in furniture for one of its contractors using state bond money.

The Auditor’s report concludes that the High-Speed Rail Authority has not adequately planned for the future development of the program.

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Its fine for her to critisize; however, the plan is a solid 20-year plan to finally create a rail system and better infrastructure so that all Cali. citizens and tourists can utilize this alternate form of transportation. Any bad press about this project(which should have been started back in the 1970’s after the oil embargo) is exactly what BIG oil wants to hear. A project of this magnitude, IF it were to be derailed… would only help add to the oil corperations bottom lines (and car manufactures as well). Less wear and tear would occur on consumers vehicles who utilize rail services… and is really perfect for people having to travel 100-200- 250 miles in a single direction.

@CIndy – RIGHT ON! That is exactly what happened. Public money ‘creatively’ diverted to buy off someone. But in this economically challenged state we live in, how in the world can we even afford to form a bureaucracy to plan a rail system that will NEVER BE BUILT?

Talk about a monumental waste of time, energy and money! They’re not even done building their website and the ‘high speed rail authorty’ has already robbed the treasury! What a boondoggle! We can’t pay teachers or firefighters BUT WE CAN PLAN A HIGH-SPEED RAIL SYSTEM!?!?!

I hope that if this thing ever does get built, the first time they accelerate to full speed (and forget to finish the tracks a-la Wile E. Coyote) these politicos are on THE FRIGGIN’ TRAIN!

Guess most of us just don’t know what to say? I’ve never seen what happens at the “high end” of these deals but I sure can tell you all about what happens at the “lower end”. 46K in office furniture???

The contractor (this one of many contractors) cut a deal, part of which included that he purchased 46K of “office furniture”, he wasn’t supposed to realize that sort of expenditure by means of actual performance but heck, whose looking? (No doubt that it was uncovered by an “inside tip”.) Now the guy that gave him the contract and approved the expenditure has a very happy wife whose maid is polishing the lovely 28K “conference table” that is sitting in her dining room complete with 12 lovely chairs. That’s right! I have seen this go on for the last 20 years with the FAA, Hugh’s Aircraft, and you name it. Did I ever tell you all about the time we bought Evan a house or the time we tax payers bought Larry a stainless steel refrigerator? Think I’m kidding – not!