California high-speed rail funding could be in jeopardy

The Legislature should not authorize the issuance of $6 billion in bonds to start building California's $98.5-billion bullet train project, a state-appointed review panel says in a key report to be released later Tuesday.

The conclusion by the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group is a serious blow to the project as it is currently designed because state law specifically empowered the group to make recommendation before any serious money on the train could be spent.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he intends to ask the Legislature this month to appropriate and sell bonds to raise billions of dollars to start construction of the project.

But that plan is facing an increasingly skeptical Legislature and general public. And now, lawmakers would have to disregard the recommendation of the very group it directed to guide it on the project if they decide to approve the bond issue.

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-- Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

Photo: A freight train rolls past the Buena Park Metrolink station. Officials say upgrades could allow bullet trains to share rails already in use. Credit: Mark Boster, Los Angeles Times

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