Take Two for May 28, 2013

California bullet train builder under scrutiny

Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

A picture taken on August 11, 2011 shows two CRH380BL bullet trains sitting at Beijing south railway station. The builder chosen to begin the California bullet train project is under scrutiny.

California's bullet train agency could break ground on the first phase of the state's bullet train in just 6 weeks. But the company chosen to lead that project, Tutor Perini Corp., scored lowest in the preliminary assessments and is currently embroiled in lawsuits with the LA Metro over construction of the Red Line. 

Those concerns have prompted the House subcommittee on rail to call a hearing this morning in Madera, CA, close to where the project is expected to break ground soon. The hearing will look at how the Rail Authority chose Tutor Perini over its competitors. 

Critics worry that while Tutor Perini had the lowest bid, costs could still balloon once the project gets underway. Committee Chair, Congressman Jeff Denham had this to say on his way to the hearing:

"We want to ask those questions: why was it changed, why was this the best deal for voters and ultimately, is there a contingency in here, is there a cost-control mechanism that if there is a bunch of changed orders or the cost does go up, how does that cost get absorbed?"


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