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High-Speed Rail Hearing Derailed

Sacramento, CA – A legislative hearing regarding the status of California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project was derailed by one assembly member’s call for more time to discuss the issues.

As previously reported, Wednesday’s hearing gave California lawmakers a chance to seek answers to several questions lingering about the state’s proposed high-speed rail project including its cost and timetable. High-speed Rail Authority Board Chairman Dan Richard indicated that the next cost projection will be lower than the current $68 billion estimate, while admitting that he is less confident that the project will come in on time.

Committee member and Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) blasted the hearing for being scheduled just an hour and a half before a mandatory assembly floor session, arguing, “You cannot do a thorough inquiry into the largest public works project in the state with 90 minutes.” He also criticized the time constraints noting that citizens whose lives and livelihoods are directly affected by the train were only given a minute to speak at the hearing.

Originally, the 2014 business plan reported a 2028 completion date for the first 520-mile phase linking the San Francisco to Los Angeles. Regarding the 2016 business plan update, Richard declined to provide specifics, noting that it will be released in the next few weeks.