Denham Requests GAO Review of California High-Speed Rail Spending Agreements

Nov 26, 2013 Issues: Transportation

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) review the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) funding agreements with the federal government.

In the letter, Rep. Denham, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, noted that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Authority’s existing grant agreement requires that federal funding is matched with 50 percent state funding. However, on November 25, 2013, a California Superior Court denied the Authority’s request to issue more than $8 billion in California Proposition 1A state bonds to finance construction of the project. This ruling has eliminated the only identified source for the state match.

“My top priority is to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly,” said Rep. Denham. “The Authority has already spent hundreds of millions of federal taxpayer dollars, and now has no identified state matching funds. I am requesting that the GAO review the Authority’s grant agreement with the FRA to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not wasted.”

Rep. Denham asked that the GAO determine if the Authority is violating or on the verge of violating its grant agreements with the federal government and if the state court rulings on November 25, 2013 put the FRA in violation of federal laws, including the Anti-Deficiency Act.

The letter was also signed by U.S. Representative Tom Latham (R-Iowa), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies.

Full text of the letter is available online here