Capitol Alert

Lawmakers move to ease reporting requirements on high-speed rail

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during the California High Speed Rail Authority ground breaking event Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Fresno, Calif.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during the California High Speed Rail Authority ground breaking event Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015 in Fresno, Calif. AP

State lawmakers on Monday approved budget language easing some oversight and reporting requirements on California’s high-speed rail project, prompting criticism from Republicans.

In a budget-related trailer bill, Democratic majorities in both houses approved measures reducing the volume of reports managers of the rail project are required to provide the Legislature. The bill would also change the qualifications required for certain members of the project’s peer review group, expanding criteria to include experience with large infrastructure projects other than high-speed rail.

Republican critics of the $68 billion rail project said the changes will reduce legislative oversight.

Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, said large infrastructure projects “need more oversight, and not less.”

The rail project is a priority of Gov. Jerry Brown’s. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said project officials regularly review their operations in public meetings.

“There’s no lack of transparency,” he said. “We’re making this change just for efficiency.”

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