Chairman of Bullet Train Project Resigns

Even the people working directly for and in support of the bullet train know all hope is lost.

Dan Richard, the man former Gov. Jerry Brown enlisted to rescue the high-speed rail in 2011, resigned Tuesday as chairman of the failing project.

Gov. Gavin Newsom selected Lenny Mendoca, a former McKinsey & Co. partner and now co-owner of a Half Moon Bay brewery, to replace Richard and was approved by the rail board as the new chairman.

This comes just a week after Newsom announced he would be scrapping the broader build of the rail network and instead would just be focusing on the section connecting Bakersfield to Merced.

Richard was the one responsible for issuing construction contracts when California lacked the land to actually build anything, resulting in millions of dollars in claims and delays. He also denied reports for years that the project was going over budget and slipping behind schedule.

"Today I want to recognize Dan Richard and Mike Rossi for their unyielding commitment to this project and for their exemplary public service. I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work to make high-speed rail a reality in California," Mendonca said in a statement.

Richard's stepping down from his position was a long time coming, Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Frazier called on him to resign in November after the 'state auditor released a scathing audit that found mismanagement had caused billions of dollars in cost growth and long schedule delays.'

'After being assured multiple times that these ongoing issues were being addressed, it is apparent to me that the authority has been less than forthcoming, Frazier said. "They have continually lied to us about performance. Richard has had every opportunity since 2012 to correct these problems and has failed. Richard owes it to California taxpayers to step aside and let new leadership take over."

Richard dismissed the criticism at the time, saying he had no need to respond to "errant and uninformed attacks." What a bogus liar that guy turned out to be.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Photo: Getty Images

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