During the past four weeks, the California State Legislature has discussed the 2016 Draft Business Plan for California High-Speed Rail in several hearings. While some legislators continue to effusively praise the project, many legislators – both Republicans and Democrats – have expressed grave concerns about the abrupt change in the direction of the project and the outlook for funding sources.
On March 28, 2016, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report entitled Review of High-Speed Rail Draft 2016 Business Plan. This report stirred the Assembly Transportation Committee enough to pass Assembly Bill 2847 on a 15-0 vote on April 18.
Introduced by Assemblymember Jim Patterson (a critic of the project), AB 2847 requires the California High-Speed Rail Authority to do two things in future business plans: (1) include projected financing costs for a proposed segment or combination of segments, and (2) identify any significant changes in scope for segments identified in the previous business plan or project update report, and provide an explanation of adjustments in cost and schedule attributable to those changes.
Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) continues to be active in calling for public accountability for this beleaguered project. CCHSRA Co-Chair Frank Oliviera spoke during public comment at the April 6, 2016 hearing of the Assembly Budget Committee #3 – Resources and Transportation – on California High-Speed Rail funding. (Watch the video clip of Frank Oliviera testimony.) A letter from CCHSRA was cited in a March 28, 2016 Associated Press article, State Lawmakers Poised to Scrutinize California High-Speed Rail Plan:
In a letter to the committee, Citizens for High-Speed Rail Accountability urged lawmakers to reconsider all funding for bullet trains. “There is not enough money available to put a functional financially sound high-speed train on what they are building,” the group wrote.
Nevertheless, the project moves on, with an Assembly budget hearing scheduled for April 20 to discuss the $500 million annual budget appropriation of cap-and-trade tax revenue to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
AGENDAS AND VIDEOS OF LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS
On March 28, the California State Assembly held an oversight hearing to review the Draft 2016 Business Plan for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
On April 4, the California State Senate held an oversight hearing on California High-Speed Rail: An Overview of the 2016 Draft Business Plan.
Complete Video: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=3525
Individual Speakers (video compiled by derailhsr)
State Senator Lois Wolk: https://youtu.be/xTK8-13P7iY
State Senator Richard Roth: https://youtu.be/rYq34TFI75Y
State Senator Jim Nielsen: https://youtu.be/ebxdrSkUWbo
State Senator Cathleen Galgiani: https://youtu.be/N89xw1YaLNk
State Senator Ted Gaines: https://youtu.be/kuB2ECon1hc
State Senator Ben Allen: https://youtu.be/Iy9BaL-ubAk
State Senator Bob Huff: https://youtu.be/iCnPn36NSu8
Lou Thompson, California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group: https://youtu.be/7gZvvW4Jmvc
Jessica Peters, California Legislative Analyst’s Office: https://youtu.be/FXI3GHg3OLM
Dan Richard, Board Chairman, California High-Speed Rail Authority: https://youtu.be/yBnVW-0jHuw
On April 6, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 Resources and Transportation held a hearing on California High-Speed Rail.
Complete Video: http://calchannel.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=7&clip_id=3543 starting at 13:03
Individual Speakers (video compiled by derailhsr):
Jessica Peters, California Legislative Analyst’s Office: https://youtu.be/PhuWAclk0zI
Assemblyman Jim Patterson: https://youtu.be/iBziL_H0xOc
Frank Oliveira, Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA): https://youtu.be/J9DeiYsyxYE
William Grindley, high-speed rail analyst and critic: https://youtu.be/t9KEffvGG34