Report: How high-speed rail project was 'captured' by costly consultants


Almost all California residents are aware by now that the bullet train project will never be completed. After the budget ran over by billions, the finish date extended by years, and Gov. Newsom announced he would be focusing the build on a section from Bakersfield to Merced, the high-speed rail is a lost cause.

One of the only sensible voices in the journey of the bullet train is Ralph Vartabedian, who often publishes articles in the Los Angles Times, chronicling the repeated failures of the high-speed rail network and what exactly has gone wrong.

In his most recent report, Vartabedian writes about the how the high-speed rail was "'captured' by costly consultants."

The bullet train plan officially kicked into high gear in 2008 with just 10 employees to "manage and oversee design of the largest public construction project in sate history."

"Consultants assured the state there was little reason to hire hundreds or thousands of in-house engineers and rail experts, because the consultants could handle the heavy work themselves and save California money. It would take them only 12 years to bore under mountains, bridge rivers and build 520 miles of rail bed — all at a cost of just $33 billion," Vartabedian writes.

However, that is not how any of it panned out and now all these years later that decision to run under a small staff has proved to be a "foundational error in the project’s execution — a miscalculation that has resulted in the California High-Speed Rail Authority being overly reliant on a network of high-cost consultants who have consistently underestimated the difficulty of the task."

Records reviewed by The LA Times have shown significant portions of the work done by these consultants have been flawed or mismanaged.

Read Vartabedian's full report here, and find out where the high-speed rail authority failed miserably.


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