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The report, issued Tuesday, concludes that Caltrans should oversee construction of the line and not the California High-Speed Rail Authority — the state agency set up to plan and build the project.
“The Authority has been given a lot of autonomy, but we’re not convinced that it has looked out after the state’s fiscal interest in the best possible way,” Mac Taylor, a legislative analyst, told reporters yesterday (see the above video).
Of course, this is just an opinion and it is the job of the legislative analyst to take a skeptical view. And not everyone agrees, as evidenced by some quotes in the story in the L.A. Times and this press release from the Authority. Earlier this week, the Authority received an additional $300 million in federal funding for the line.
The Authority is hoping to begin construction next year of the first segment of the line that would eventually connect Bakersfield and Fresno. Ultimately, that’s part of a planned San Francisco-to-Anaheim route with a major hub at Union Station in Los Angeles.
To make a long story short, the Authority is a very small agency trying to build a very big project that is still well short of the money it needs to get the job done (see the chart). There have been contentious arguments involving the route, the cost and prospective ridership, to name only three.