Halt California funds for high-speed rail, budget watchdog says 

The state’s high-speed rail project should be halted, according to a new report, which says questionable funding and the new business plan provide too many uncertainties to justify the endeavor.

The state Legislative Analyst’s Office said Tuesday that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has “not provided sufficient detail and justification to the Legislature regarding its plan to build” the system. The report concluded the state should not approve various funding plans proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The analyst’s office did, however, recommend funding should be allocated to continue planning efforts that are currently under way.

A revised plan announced this month made significant changes to the project, including integrating the bullet train with existing passenger rails instead of creating new tracks in many parts of the state.

In January, Brown also proposed to dissolve the authority and roll it, Caltrans, the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles into one new department in order to cut costs. The rail project is now estimated to cost $68 billion for the first phase. That’s down from the revised estimate last year of $98 billion.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the authority has only secured $9 billion in voter-approved funds and another $3.5 billion in federal funds — far below the estimated costs.

The project aims to bring reliable and fast rail service between Northern and Southern California along an 800-mile route.


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