Denham Leads Congressional Field Hearing on California High Speed Rail Project

May 28, 2013 Issues: Transportation

WASHINGTON, DC — Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Material U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA) issued the following statement today following the conclusion of an oversight field hearing in Madera, California to examine the status of the California High Speed Rail project.

“Since Prop 1A was approved by California voters in 2008, the project has more than doubled in cost, and, after more than $3 billion from the federal tax payer, not one shovel has hit the ground,” said Denham.  “Until I see a viable business plan for high speed rail in California that is fiscally sound and supported by private dollars, I will continue to hold the rail authority accountable to the voters and ensure their taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.”

Denham was joined by Central Valley colleagues Reps. David Valadao (CA-21) and Jim Costa (CA-16) at today’s field hearing.

“Over the last several years, estimates of cost and completion time have substantially increased from the original projections which California voters originally approved. I have serious concerns that this project is far from viable, facing unrealistic goals and lack of public demand,” Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) stated. This project severely impacts my district while delivering very little benefit. It is crucial we examine all costs and benefits of this project and ensure that the voices of those affected are heard.”

With costs, completion dates and goals of the California project fluctuating since it was originally passed by California voters in 2008, the Subcommittee heard testimony from state and local officials and other stakeholders regarding the status of the project and ongoing concerns.

The Congressional panel heard from several witnesses at the hearing including Dan Richard, Chairman of the Board, California High Speed Rail Authority; Kole Upton, Vice President, Preserve Our Heritage; Doug Verboon, Chairman, Kings County Board of Supervisors; Anja Raudabaugh, Executive Director, Madera County Farm Bureau; Louis S. Thompson, Chairman, Peer Review Group for the California High-Speed Rail Project; and Al Smith, President and CEO, Fresno Chamber of Commerce.

Video from today’s Congressional field hearing, Denham’s opening statement as well as written testimony from each of the witnesses is available online here.

###