The PJ Tatler

Issa Advises High-Speed Rail Officials of Oversight Probe

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has opened a probe into the use of federal funds for California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) operations.

Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wrote yesterday to all current and former board members as well as current and former executive leadership to ask that they preserve all records as the panel looks into allegations of mismanagement and conflicts of interest.

The high-speed rail project was originally granted $2.34 billion in the stimulus; since then a total of nearly $4 billion in federal funds has been allocated to the project.

“Questions remain about the ridership model used by CHSRA to determine the number of passengers that will actually use the high-speed rail system,” Issa wrote. “Questions have also arisen regarding the project’s route, as well as compliance with the ballot initiative language originally authorizing the project and its publicly backed finances.”

“Congress must also understand how State-led efforts meet national transportation goals,” he added.

Issa also noted that since 2010, allegations of conflicts of interest have surfaced regarding the board members of CHSRA at a time when the authority had received and was spending federal taxpayer money.  “I understand that these conflicts may have contributed to a pattern of weak oversight and mismanagement of the project,” he wrote.