SACRAMENTO (AP) — The board that oversees California’s high-speed rail project voted to give its largest private contractor another $96 million and two more years to oversee architectural and engineering work, but warned that it will exercise rigorous oversight.
Board members made it clear Thursday to contractor Parsons Brinckerhoff that the California High-Speed Rail Authority has beefed up its senior management and added staff, so the firm should not expect its proposals to be rubber-stamped, as many critics have charged.
The authority, which is overseeing efforts to begin building the $68 billion bullet train, has been criticized for relying too heavily on outside contractors, including Parsons Brinckerhoff. The authority’s chief executive, Jeff Morales, was hired from the firm last year.
A report by the state auditor last year said the rail authority was “significantly understaffed and has struggled to oversee its contractors and subcontractors,” delegating significant control to them. That criticism was valid, but many of those issues have since been resolved, several board members said Thursday.