Sacramento – Earlier today, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, the Assembly Transportation Committee Chaired by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D- Fairfield) held an oversight hearing on the California High Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) 2020 Draft Business Plan. The HSRA is required to adopt and submit a final business plan to the Legislature on May 1st every two years that details funding, financing and ridership estimates for the entire project.
Since the Legislature first envisioned high-speed rail in the state in 1996 and residents first voted on Prop 1A in 2008 to help fund the project, the general idea for how the state would accomplish this has largely remained the same. The actual business plan authored by the Authority however has been riddled with issues and come under increased scrutiny from the Legislature as costs and deadlines have ballooned while reports of dysfunction and organizational chaos have become widespread.
“Once again, it seems the High-Speed Rail Authority has released in the 2020 Draft Business Plan a proposal for its future that it can’t afford and that won’t deliver what is promised. Every version of the Business Plan has increased costs and reduced scope and no longer resembles the vision promised in the 2008 ballot measure’’, said Assemblymember Frazier. “Despite efforts by myself and some of my colleagues, the Authority continues to propose electrifying a segment of a train line in the Central Valley that will add billions of dollars to the project and provide little or no benefit.”
“I believe there is a way to rescue this project from failure, but I think it requires honest evaluation and true cost-benefit analysis, neither of which the Authority has ever been able to provide”, continued Frazier. “Every iteration of the business plan comes with new promises without results. It is going to take a lot of explanation for me to believe that, this time, the Authority’s cost and ridership estimates are legitimate, and this is something the state should continue to invest in.”
Development of high-speed rail in California began more than 20 years ago. SB 1420 (Kopp), Chapter 796, Statutes of 1996, created HSRA to direct development and implementation of intercity high-speed rail service that would be fully coordinated with other public transportation services.
For more information on this legislation or to learn more about Assemblymember Frazier, please visit his website.
Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.