Grants Awarded to California Bullet Train will be Audited by Federal Government
The U.S. Department of Transportation will audit California’s high-speed rail project as costs continue to increase. The inspector general’s audit was announced last month and will examine the Federal Railroad Administration’s oversight of almost $3.5 billion in federal grant money awarded to the rail project. State auditors are also conducting a review of the rail project that is expected to cost $77 billion. In March, a business plan revealed that the state does not have the roughly $30 billion needed to complete the first phase of the project between the Central Valley and San Francisco. In a statement, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s new chief executive Brian Kelly said,
We will cooperate fully in this and any other audit of our funding or program. We look forward to working closely with our federal partners to deliver the nation’s first truly high-speed system.
The federal funds awarded to California come with specific conditions that Kelly has promised to comply with. The conditions include completing a 119-mile segment of track in the Central Valley, which is now under construction, and finishing environmental reviews for the full line by 2022. The audit will specifically evaluate how the Federal Railroad Administration determines whether California has complied with federal guidelines. The inspector general’s office has not provided a timeline for when the federal audit will be completed, but state auditors plan on having their audit done by the end of this year. We will have to wait and see what the audits from the federal and state governments find.