As the California High Speed Rail Authority gains a new chief operating officer, a May report released by the state auditor warns of potential delays in the authority’s planned $45-billion project due to inadequate planning, oversight and contract management.
The report warns that the authority hasn’t identified enough non-state matching funds, which are required to access the $9.9 billion OK’d in the voter-approved 2008 California bond that launched the project. The project has received $2.25 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Construction plans call for 2.5 times more state and federal funding to be spent by 2013 than what is currently in place. The report also states the authority doesn’t have the necessary accounting systems in place and has paid as much as $4 million in contractor invoices without proper approval from the program manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff. Questionable bills included an oral agreement that was later contradicted by a written contract to provide a contractor with $46,000 in furniture, the report says. PB deferred comments to the authority.