The California State Joint Legislative Audit Committee did indeed approve an audit of the High Speed Rail project. But we now learn results from this audit will be severely handicapped by the scope of the audit that was passed.

The Democrat dominated committee, with the effort by Senator Jim Beall (D), did join with Rep Jim Patterson (R) to approve the audit.  But Beall dominated the hearing by laying down a detailed scoping list, limiting just what Auditor Elaine Howell will be permitted to investigate.

Republican members of the committee wanted a much more far reaching audit.  This audit, as an example, will not look at whether the project is really sustainable; whether it will conform to the requirements of Prop 1A.

Indeed it seems, there will be no investigation of why leaked reports from the FRA and from Parson’s Brinkerhoff were ignored and in fact why such leaks were always treated as nonsense by Chair Richard and ex-CEO Morales.  Forget past miss-steps that should have been red flags about the ability of the project to succeed — just punt them down further the road.

Senator Beall in his closing remarks reveals his vision.  His vision has this project becoming a commuter line so companies like Intel and Apple can have access to a pool of workers who will commute from the Central Valley to the Silicon Valley. It is hard to conceive how Beall’s vision has any relationship to what the voters were promised back in 2008, when the Prop 1A bond ballot was approved.  Let us recall the project was presented to the voters as a project to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 hours 40 minutes at a then projected cost of $32 billion. That vision is now long gone with his outlook.

The 42 minute video of this hearing can be viewed here. The scope limiting list to which the Auditor must adhere, is located here.