A California lawmaker is now calling for an official probe into the state’s high speed rail project in response to an NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit probe into overspending and underperformance at California’s High Speed Rail Authority.
Senior Investigative Reporter Stephen Stock first broke this story Monday night of a multi-billion dollar project now in crisis.
Monthly construction numbers over both the past three years and the last year in particular show a trend downward when those same spending numbers should be trending up.
At the current pace even the first portion of the project, a 119 mile long stretch from outside Bakersfield to Madera will not be completed in time to meet a federal deadline outlined in a grant award of December, 2022.
The internal numbers from High Speed Rail show an ever growing gap between what WSP was supposed to deliver according to its contract with the state and what the company actually delivered.
Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno now says he wants California's attorney general to investigate after NBC Bay Area's report.
An updated report from High Speed Rail Authority to the state legislature is due on lawmakers’ desk on Wednesday.
Patterson provided the following statement:
“California’s high-speed rail project has been terribly mismanaged from the beginning, but now all signs from great investigative journalism point to an inside circle of corruption that is crying out for an investigation.
We have a major infrastructure project that is controlled from the top down by outside consultants who first gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the high-speed rail ballot initiative. Now they’ve been given the power to enrich themselves. The work isn’t getting done yet these consultants are still getting a paycheck. Our Attorney General and our Governor should be demanding answers as to how they spent $5.3 billion and have only a slow speed track between Bakersfield and Merced to show for it.”