State audit blames bullet train mismanagement for delays and price hikes

A stinging state audit of the California bullet train project released Thursday found that flawed decision-making, organizational faults and poor contract management led to multibillion-dollar cost overruns and delays in construction.

The construction program in the Central Valley, in which the rail authority is building 119 miles of bridges, rail bed, viaducts and trenches, is $600 million over budget and at risk of missing a 2022 federal deadline for completion set under past grant agreements, the audit said.

“Missing the deadline could expose the State to the risk of having to pay back as much as $3.5 billion in federal funds,” State Auditor Elaine Howle said in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Howle suggested that much of the spending so far may have been an outright waste.

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