By Jon Coupal | Last week, the federal government announced that it would audit California’s high-speed rail project. This is welcome news for those who have believed from the very inception of the project that it was doomed to failure.
Bullet train cheerleaders and their allies in the California Legislature have worked hard to conceal the true status of the project as well as its viability. Only recently, after years of rising costs and blown deadlines, has the legislature finally agreed to conduct its own audit.
Whether the state audit will be meaningful remains to be seen, given the enormous political pressure to paint Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet project in the most favorable light. Certainly the federal government is more likely than the state to conduct a serious and impartial audit.
The audit will be conducted by United States Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Like other OIGs — there are 73 such offices in the federal government — the inspector general will employ both forensic auditors and a variety of other specialists. Their mission includes the detection and prevention of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement of government programs and operations.
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