The California High Speed Rail Authority recently announced a new money-saving plan and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Considering overall construction costs for the controversial, cross-state train project have skyrocketed from $33 billion when first approved in 2006 to nearly $100 billion today, and since the project is currently facing land lawsuits, and public criticism for contract award policies, saving money sounds like a great idea about now.
So what is the new plan? Are they going to get rid of project labor agreements (PLA’s) with unions and a requirement that says 10 percent of the work must go to the "disadvantaged," and open the construction field to any contractor with the expertise to safely and efficiently help build the largest and most expensive public project in state history? WIth non-union members currently accounting for about 85 percent of California construction workers this might be something to contemplate.
But no, the Authority has a better idea. According to its latest press release, they are going to save money by creating a new website. I pay about $10 per month for my online site, and others, such as godaddy.com go for as low as $0.99, so the project appears to be on the right track and could probably save hundreds of dollars in the next few years.
The press release says the new website, which was launched last month, will cut costs, improve accessibility to information, and comply with current standards for executive branch websites.
"The new website is designed to improve user experience, foster transparency and provide the Authority with an online presence consistent with other State of California agencies,” reads the release.
The Rail Authority is responsible for planning, designing, building and operating the proposed high-speed rail project, which is planned to one day run 800 miles, between Sacramento and San Diego at speeds up to 200 mph and include 24 stops along the way.
I called and emailed the Authority’s press department a couple times to find out about how much the new website is expected to save per month or year, but haven’t heard back. Maybe with some of the money they are going to save, they can hire more people to answer phones and return emails.