House oversight committee to review operations of high-speed rail in California 

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California’s high-speed rail plan has come under investigation by federal lawmakers for potential conflict of interest issues and lax spending oversight related to the $68 billion project.

The House of Representatives’ oversight committee informed the state on Monday that it was launching a widespread investigation into the practices of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The committee’s chair, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Ca., said in a letter to the authority that the focus will be on “questions regarding the appropriate use of federal funds; allegations concerning possible conflicts of interest and mismanagement; and how these factors might impact taxpayer.”

In a statement on the committee website, Issa said that “California high-speed rail was sold to voters as a grand vision for tomorrow but in practice appears to be no different than countless other pork-barrel projects — driven more by political interests and consultant spending than valid cost-benefit analysis.”

Dan Richard, chair of the authority’s board of directors, welcomed the federal oversight of the project.

“Any project of this size should be subject to overview,” said Richard. “We, of course, will cooperate with the committee, but do not believe any conflict of interest has occurred.”

The Republican-led House of Representatives has voiced repeated opposition to California’s high-speed rail project, which has received almost $4 billion from the federal government.

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Will Reisman

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