“Peer Review Group” has issued a report on the organizational structure of California high-speed rail. The group has reached a depressing conclusion that nobody in the State has the necessary skill set to develop a high-speed rail system, or even negotiate a PPP:
The LAO Report identifies a concern with Caltrans’ “…lack of expertise in working with private partners on PPPs,” which is exactly the problem that the project faces even now in the issue of the lack of operator/designer/builder feedback, and which will become much more serious when the time comes to develop, award and oversee (or regulate) the operating arrangement. The Authority does not have this expertise either, and the Group is deeply concerned that neither the Authority nor Caltrans will be able to acquire it in a timely way if the Department must stay within existing State agency limitations on positions, salaries, and skills.
High-speed rail is a mature turn-key technology. There are numerous 3rd world countries that have built lines, or are in the process of doing so. How is it that California, with its diverse economy and engineering talent, is having these kinds of problems?
The full report: 59472351-PeerReviewGroupCommentsonHSRLAO-sReport