INTERVIEW AVAILABLE: Assemblyman Patterson Requests Emergency Audit of California’s High Speed Rail Project

Posted on 14 Nov 2017 for representative Jim Patterson

NOTE: Assemblyman Patterson is available for interviews. Please respond ASAP if interested. 661-364-3655 or email alisha.gallon@asm.ca.gov. Description: 23_Patterson_Medoa Advisory_Header_7246 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Alisha Gallon | 661-364-3655 alisha.gallon@asm.ca.gov November 14, 2017 Assemblyman Patterson Requests Emergency Audit of California’s High Speed Rail Project FRESNO – Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) has officially requested an emergency audit by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee in an attempt to uncover potential hidden or downplayed cost overruns on the high-speed rail project. The audit can be conducted with the simple approval by the Chair and Vice Chair of the committee, Assemblyman Al Murasutchi (D-Torrance) and Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside), and seeks information about a potential contingency plan for the project if the necessary public/private funds fall through. On September 29, the Los Angeles Times reported that the project is $1.7 billion over budget and seven years behind schedule on its first segment in the Central Valley. The budget for the first construction contract has been depleted, and the High Speed Rail Authority has approved an emergency fund transfer to prevent a halt in construction work. The construction on the first segment of the project has far exceeded its original budget and the HSRA continues to operate without drafting a new budget. Add to this, a recent exodus of key executive staff which further undermines confidence in the HSRA’s ability to manage its ongoing construction contracts. There is currently no estimate of how much additional taxpayer money will be required to complete the initial operating segment which leads to greater concerns and questions about the viability of the project. “Whether you think it’s a good or bad idea – this project is ripping up Central California and destroying productive farmland. We owe it to the people to demonstrate that the HSRA isn’t going to skip town and leave us with a partially built track that ends in a field outside Shafter,” Assemblyman Patterson said. “Californians deserve to know what Plan B is – it’s time for a reality check.” Assemblyman Patterson has requested answers to the following questions: 1. What are the Authority’s demonstrable policies, practices, and personnel to generate reliable budget estimates for ongoing construction contracts? 2. What are the Authority’s demonstrable contract management policies in place to contain costs? 3. What are the Authority’s demonstrable systems and practices in place for tracking and reviewing invoices? 4. What are the Authority’s demonstrable practices in negotiating and approving change orders? Are they consistent with best practices and do they protect the best use of public funds? 5. What is the Authority’s contingency plan if projected private and public funding does not meet the Authority’s projections? What is the Authority’s plan if the money received is less than what is necessary to deliver the high-speed rail project as described in Proposition 1A? ###