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LAO Flip Flop

In a recent report, the LAO (California Legislative Analyst) recommends relegating the CHSRA Board to a mere advisory role, bringing responsibility for the project under the State’s Department of Transportation. This is an interesting turn of events, because in 2003 the LAO said the exact opposite:

Consolidating HSRA Into Caltrans Will Not Be More Effective or Efficient

The proposal to consolidate the High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) into Caltrans would result in some savings, but would not improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s efforts to develop and implement a high-speed rail system. We recommend that the proposal be rejected and HSRA funding be restored. Our review finds that the proposal would reduce accountability within the high-speed rail program. This is because the administration’s proposal would statutorily eliminate the HSRA board’s power to
appoint an executive director, thereby leaving the authority without a focal point to hold accountable for carrying out its mission.

In addition, the proposal would have the practical effect of limiting the board’s ability to carry out its mission while still holding it
responsible for doing so.

For the record, I think the 2003 recommendation was wrong, and that events over the past 8 years demonstrated the CHSRA was in way over its head.

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