CA High Speed Rail Chief Resigns - Is End Near For HSR Authority?

In addition to the resignation of Roelof van Ark, CEO of the High-Speed Rail Authority, Chairman Tom Umberg has stepped down, though he will remain on the board. Gov. Brown has indicated he will merge the Authority with Caltrans.

"The exodus of the authority's top officials came as the prospects for the $99 billion project's survival appear dim, though Brown has remained steadfast in his support of a project that Big Labor considers critical. The shake-up coincided with Brown's plan to move the rail authority into a newly created transportation agency that includes Caltrans."

"Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a letter to Brown, said that merging the rail authority with Caltrans would be key to revamping the business plan. It would, she said, "permit a rapid reassessment of the route, decisions regarding the stages of construction, and substantial progress on acquiring right of way" and would signal to Congress that the project remains viable."

"State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Thursday that he's in favor of tweaking the plan to show that the state is committed to building near urban population centers. "We need to look to see whether there might be other ways to get this done, and not jeopardize the federal money," Steinberg told reporters."

Thanks to Mike Keenly

Full Story: Head of High-Speed Rail Authority quits as agency undergoes shake-up

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