CA Legislative Analyst Recommends Minimal Funding For HSR Project

Gov. Jerry Brown was no doubt disappointed to read the report from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office that recommends minimal funding at best for the $68 billion project due to "highly speculative funding" from private and federal sources.

Mike Rosenberg of the Mercury News writes that "the report could give a divided Legislature the political cover it needs to halt the biggest public works project in California history." A decision is expected in the summer.

The function of the Legislative Analyst's Office is to "provide fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature. It is known for its fiscal and programmatic expertise and nonpartisan analyses of the state budget."

The analysis heavily weighted the lack of committed funds.

"Our concerns are really legitimate and serious," said Brian Weatherford, the LAO analyst who wrote the report. Without a new outpouring of federal funding, "we don't really see how you could get (the money) to build this thing. That's our primary concern."

Furthermore, the LAO recommended against using cap & trade revenues as a source for funding because "there are more cost-effective environmental programs that could use the money."

"If lawmakers vote to start building high-speed rail, as Weatherford predicts, the LAO advises them only to approve the first $2 billion section of the initial leg of construction near Fresno, because the remaining $4 billion for the rest of the section won't be needed until future years."

Thanks to MTC Library

Full Story: Stop California bullet train, state's top analyst urges

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