Audit: Calif. high-speed rail has risky financing

January 24, 2012 7:15:13 PM PST
California's auditor says the state's $98 billion high-speed rail project relies on risky financial assumptions and that planners have secured just a fraction of the amount needed for construction.

Tuesday's review by state Auditor Elaine Howle is the latest in a series of critical reports that have raised questions about the project's financing, proposed route and ridership estimates.

The audit says the cost of a statewide bullet train system could range from $98.5 billion to $117 billion, but the California High-Speed Rail Authority has identified just $12.5 billion in funding.

In its response, the authority says Howle relied on speculative comments that should not be included. It also said many of the detailed projections the auditor sought are contained in the 215-page business plan.