LAO Reports

High-Speed Rail Is at a Critical Juncture

May 10, 2011

 


In November 2008, voters approved Proposition 1A, which allows the state to sell $9 billion in general obligation bonds to partially fund the development and construction of the high-speed rail system. In addition, the state has received roughly $3 billion from the federal government for its construction. We describe a number of problems that pose threats to the high-speed rail project’s successful development as envisioned by Proposition 1A and make several recommendations. We recommend that the Legislature direct the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) to renegotiate the terms of the federal funding awarded to the state by the Federal Rail Administration. We also recommend that the Legislature pass legislation this session that shifts the responsibility for the day-to-day and strategic development of the project from HSRA to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).