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U.S. Transportation department executive approved grant days before taking job with rail contractor

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-federal-rail-grant-conflict-20170209-story.html

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Washington, February 10, 2017 | By Ralph Vartabedian, The LA Times | comments

A top Obama Administration executive at the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $647-million grant for a California rail project in mid-January and less than two weeks later later went to work for a Los Angeles-based contractor involved in the project, the Times has learned.

The grant provides a significant part of the money required to install a $2-billion electrical power system on the Bay Area’s Caltrain commuter rail system, allowing the commuter rail to retire its diesel locomotives.

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Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), chairman of the House rail subcommittee, was bluntly critical of Flowers for approving the grant and then accepting a job at a company whose work would be supported by the grant money.

“This is exactly what America hates about Washington D.C.,” he said in a statement. “Taxpayers deserve transparency and it’s time for an audit. Period.”

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