A request for an emergency audit of the $64-billion California bullet train project was turned down Monday by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, the Torrance Democrat who chairs the joint audit committee.
In a letter to Assemblyman Jim Patterson (D-Fresno), who requested the audit, Muratsuchi said the request would deny the legislature and public an opportunity to review and discuss the issue in public.
Muratsuchi suggested he bring a regular request for an audit when the committee holds a hearing in January. Under Patterson’s request for an emergency audit, the chair and co-chair of the committee can authorize an audit by themselves. The project is facing a $1.7-billion increase in costs and a seven-year delay in just its segment in the Central Valley.
In 2016, the joint audit committee turned down a request for a regular audit by Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), who subsequently said the party’s leadership was afraid that potentially negative findings would jeopardize the project.
Patterson and Vidak, among most other Republican legislators and a few Democrats, oppose the project as it is currently planned and implemented. Patterson’s office released the letter from Muratsuchi.