High-Speed Train

By Michael Doyle
mdoyle@mcclatchydc.com
Published: Friday, Mar. 29, 2013 – 1:12 pm

WASHINGTON — WASHINGTON – Top congressional Republicans are preparing new roadblocks for an ambitious California high-speed rail project that’s received both praise and caution flags from a long-awaited federal audit.

While auditors cite good work by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, including “reasonable” ridership and revenue forecasts, they also warn that long-term funding “faces uncertainty,” in part because of congressional skepticism. If hardened into permanent opposition, the doubts could seriously undermine the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco project, expected to cost $68 billion.

“Obtaining sustained congressional and public support for appropriating additional funds is one of the biggest challenges to completing this project,” the Government Accountability Office auditors noted in the new report.

Underscoring the political challenge, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, of Bakersfield, said the GAO study only stiffened his resolve to oppose the project.

“The authority’s plan is irresponsible and reckless, and that is why I am developing legislation to stop more hard-earned taxpayer dollars from being wasted on California high-speed rail,” McCarthy said in a statement.

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