With California’s high-speed rail project still expecting to receive tens of billions of dollars in federal funding, a new report from Washington, D.C., highlighted concerns about the plan’s financial assumptions.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a detailed report on the $68 billion undertaking, which is slated to be the largest public works project in state history. While the report indicated that the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is overseeing the project, has exhibited some best practices in developing its long-term strategy for the plan, questions remain -- including volatility in ridership projections, lingering environmental issues and, most pressing, a lack of funding.
So far, roughly $11.5 billion in state and federal sources have been identified for the project, leaving a $57 billion shortfall. Of the remaining funds needed, the authority has projected that $37 billion will come from Washington, yet lawmakers have been divided on the federal spending practices. The GAO report noted several roadblocks.