On June 1, the State Senate passed bill SB-517, sponsored by Senator Alan Lowenthal, which if passed by the Assembly and the Governor will lead to a change in the governance of the High Speed Rail Project. The bill passed on a 26 - 12 vote.
This bill, if signed into law, will replace the present Authority Board with new members, who will be professionals, not politicians and developers, and the new appointees will have to be approved by the full Senate. Presently the Governor effectively controls the Authority’s board, since he can appoint 5 of the nine members.
There was a lively discussion of the bill on the Senate floor. Senator LaMalfa, an avowed opponent of the project, made the crucial point in his support for the bill. He said “Anything would be better than what we have right now governing the High Speed Rail Authority.”
The present project is an utter disaster and at the very least needs a complete restart. That certainly will never happen with the present board. The hearing and vote can be watched on YouTube at: