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Working on the railroad: Bullet-train consultant questioned over biz ties

Courtesy California High Speed Rail Authority

A rendering of what a high-speed rail train would look like traversing California's desert.

Frank Koppelman, a $400 per hour consultant with the California bullet train project, once worked for Cambridge Systematics Inc., the company that prepares the ridership estimates he was hired to assess for the rail authority. 

Koppelman, who reportedly has a close relationship with a top Cambridge executive, worked for the company on a pair of projects before taking his job with the CA High-Speed Rail Authority in 2010, says the L.A. Times

Critics say the ridership estimates from Cambridge are not accurate but Koppelman's panel concluded that the Cambridge estimates are reliable.

The consultant reportedly told the Times that his objectivity was not compromised because of connections to Cambridge, explaining that most experts in travel forecasting would have similar business ties.