In his Feb. 1 column, CALmatters columnist Dan Walters points out that the audit of California’s over-budget, behind-schedule high-speed rail project commissioned by state lawmakers this week is limited in its scope.
Walters opines that a top-to-bottom examination by state Auditor Elaine Howle of the estimated $70 billion project would better serve taxpayers. The audit, which was ordered by a bipartisan panel of Assembly and Senate members, calls for a review of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s contracting procedures.
Republicans Pushed for Comprehensive Audit
“Several Republican members of the committee called for Howle to expand her audit to include the project’s overall financial viability, to no avail,” writes Walters. “Only the very limited version was approved.
“It would have been prudent to authorize Howle to include an analysis of (the rail authority’s business) plan in her audit, but Democratic legislators stubbornly resist delving deeply into whether the bullet train can become a reality – perhaps because it’s (Gov. Jerry) Brown’s pet project.”
Walters concludes with an observation that is shared by many Californians:
“It’s high time that Brown, the bullet train board he appointed and other project advocates prove that there’s a practical way to build it. And it’s high time that what they propose gets a rigorous test by the state’s top forensic examiner, Elaine Howle.”