Following an oversight field hearing of the subcommittee on railroads, pipelines and hazardous material, U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) released the following statement regarding the status of the California High Speed Rail project.
“Since Prop 1A was approved by California voters in 2008, the project has more than doubled in cost, and, after more than $3 billion from the federal tax payer, not one shovel has hit the ground,” said Denham. “Until I see a viable business plan for high speed rail in California that is fiscally sound and supported by private dollars, I will continue to hold the rail authority accountable to the voters and ensure their taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.”
The field hearing was held in the City of Madera on Tuesday, where fellow Central Valley Congressmen David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Jim Costa (R-Modesto) joined Denham.
“Over the last several years, estimates of cost and completion time have substantially increased from the original projections which California voters originally approved. I have serious concerns that this project is far from viable, facing unrealistic goals and lack of public demand,” said Valadao. “This project severely impacts my district while delivering very little benefit. It is crucial we examine all costs and benefits of this project and ensure that the voices of those affected are heard.”
Since Prop 1A was originally passed by California voters in 2008, the costs, completion dates and overall goals of the project have continued to fluctuate, leaving many stakeholders with concerns regarding the project. The field hearing on Tuesday was held in order to hear testimony from local and state officials regarding their concerns and the status of the project.
The Congressional panel at the hearing listened to numerous witnesses including Dan Richard, Chairman of the Board, California High Speed Rail Authority; Kole Upton, Vice President, Preserve Our Heritage; Doug Verboon, Chairman, Kings County Board of Supervisors; Anja Raudabaugh, Executive Director, Madera County Farm Bureau; Louis S. Thompson, Chairman, Peer Review Group for the California High Speed Rail Project, and Al Smith, President and CEO, Fresno Chamber of Commerce.
The hearing can be viewed below.