California lawmakers are getting ready to bring a knife to the fight. After months squabbling with the California High Speed Rail Authority, the California assembly has co-sponsored a resolution that calls for the Authority to defer work on a $20.5 billion line that connects Bakersfield and Merced.
Lawmakers want to look over the project and make the proper check marks before releasing $4.2 billion of remaining high-speed rail funds that have been available since 2008. California is dealing with a $54.3 billion deficit, which could ultimately impact the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles high-speed rail route, which includes the Bakersfield and Merced section. The California High Speed Rail Authority can still find a builder for the 171-mile piece, but it still might come under scrutiny by the state.
Lawmakers ultimately want a say on certain aspects of the project, and have been raising issues with the Authority over the last year. Connecting other Bay Area cities, removing electrical components in favor of diesel trains and a focus on southern California and the Bay Area have all been under debate.
The resolution for the Authority to defer the Bakersfield-to-Merced route received bipartisan voting support. If the California Assembly does not have the chance for review the project could be completely scratched.