Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill to Improve High-Speed Rail Oversight

Brown at High-Speed Rail Groundbreaking (AP)
AP / Gary Kazanjian

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have increased financial oversight of the state’s high-speed rail project, which aims to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles but lacks the necessary funds and rights of way.

The bill, AB 2847, would have added to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s existing requirement to produce an updated business plan every two years, requiring a projection of financial costs for each proposed segment of the route as well.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the bill incorporated new recommendations from the Legislative Analyst’s Office. “The analyst’s office had recommended that the rail authority provide more information about how a $43-billion gap in funding the construction would be closed,” the Times‘ Ralph Vartabedian reported. Legislators became concerned that the state had begun committing funds to a project that would never be completed without new, significant sources of cash — from somewhere.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson, the former mayor of Fresno, introduced the bill — and won the approval of both parties, a rare feat for a Republican in Sacramento. “If this project keeps going forward without the necessary oversight, it will continue to collapse,” he was quoted by the Times as saying. “It is already in the process of collapsing in front of our eyes. It is a make-believe project.”

But Brown, who has seized on the high-speed rail project as a cornerstone of his anti-climate change policy, vetoed the bill, saying that the High-Speed Rail Authority already had sufficient requirements in place.

“As with other projects of this magnitude, state law requires strict standards of accountability and transparency, and I have every expectation that the authority will meet these high standards,” Brown said, according to the Times.

The bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate without opposition, but it is unclear whether there are enough votes in both houses to override the governor’s veto.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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