Fresno Assemblyman says he won't take no for an answer on high speed rail audit

Worries what could happen to Fresno if the money runs out

Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson says he won't take no for an answer. He intends to keep pushing for an emergency audit of the high speed rail project.

Patterson's request for an audit was turned down by the chairman of the legislative audit committee. He claims there's new evidence that the project is in deep trouble. He claims the high speed rail project is already $1-point-7 billion over budget.

He adds the High Speed Rail Authority approved an emergency money transfer of $35-million to keep construction going. "The project is in real difficulty and we have the potential of being sort of left out in the cold uncompleted. Lots of the city torn up with a project that doesn't complete Los Angeles to San Francisco."

Patterson believes an emergency audit will take the politics out of high speed rail and reveal the true financial health of the project. He's also surprised that the Governor is keeping his distance. "What the Governor ought to do and what the Governor is doing really sends a signal to me that he's basically checked out. That he's basically put it on autopilot and the High Speed Rail Authority is going to do what it's supposed to do."

The third term Assemblyman worries what Fresno will look like if the money dries up. "The best we'll have is a multi-billion dollar upgrade to Amtrak and that's not what we were promised."

Patterson is also concerned about the leadership exodus at high speed rail. In the past year the chief executive, senior deputy officer, chief administrator and computer systems director have all left.

The Fresno Assemblyman says he will try again for an emergency audit when lawmakers return to Sacramento in January.

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