SACRAMENTO (January 24, 2012) - Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) released the following statement as a response to a January report by the non-partisan California State Auditor which came as a follow-up to 2010 recommendations on the High Speed Rail project. The report concluded that "although the HSR authority addressed some of the prior concerns, its funding situation has become increasingly risky and the authority's weak oversight persists". The report also mentioned the HSR Authority has ignored most of the auditor's recommendations.
"The more that is it reviewed the worse that it appears and the less it is justified, yet the Governor persists in funding this wasteful project with hard-earned taxpayers' money, "said Nielsen. "There are many serious problems with this project, but the most obvious one is its inflated projected ridership. It supposes that passengers take a total of 29 to 43 million annual trips, and that is simply not going to happen, not at a cost of $81 for one trip."
According to the State Auditor's Report, ridership findings were generated by an in-house group, which can lead to a bias. The HSR project which was initially approved by the voters is now projected to cost around $118 billion - many times the original cost estimate.
"We have not provided for a supply of water for generations for millions of Californians, how dare we spend so much money on a boondoggle that will affect so few," said Nielsen. "This is one of the most expensive dupes in the history of California."