California High Speed Rail Consultant Fees Questioned

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – The overflowing budget for California’s High Speed Rail system is coming under question after a report found that upwards of $12 million has been spent on consultant fees since 2009.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross points out that many lawmakers are wondering exactly what the public is getting out of the deal and who is collecting the fees.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

That includes Denise LaPointe, a former staffer to former High Speed Rail Authority board member Quentin Kopp, whose firm collected more than $350,000 in the past two years. Then there’s former Oakland City Planning Commissioner Nicole Franklin, who took in $45,000.

San Mateo Assemblyman Jerry Hill said he thinks the money has been spent unwisely up to this point.

“We don’t want to be sold on a project. We want to be shown the project, analyze the project and see the project from every angle,” he said.

Rod Diridon, the Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University and a former High Speed Rail board member, said he couldn’t agree more.

“If there is a crying need, it’s for much broader, more effective and cogent communication,” said Diridon.

Some believe a lack of progress led the Rail Authority to pull out of a five-year, $9 million contract with Ogilvy Public Relations. Bids are being taken on a new PR contract worth $2.5 million this fiscal year.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • po'd

    This is so disgustingly sickening!! Millions wasted and yet schools and prisons are over flowing, crammed together, fire stations have closed down.
    And for what?! Nothing. I personally think that the high speed rail is a huge waste of time and money and for the majority of people not a practical way to get; I figured out with my family of 5 and where we live it would cost more to go to SF from the north east bay to say Disneyland and back and that’s in my suburban, and the time about the same — the rail sight has ways to figure out times and at one point had “possible fares” listed.

  • FRED28

    Enough is enough, can’t (WE) see this is just lining the pockets of our elected leaders and they so called appointee’s High speed rail= FAILURE. No one and I mean NO ONE will use it, we are not Japan or Europe we have no need for this. Besides you can’t and I mean can’t get a person from California out of their car………

  • HH!

    I think there’s lots of dirty hands in this deal

  • Mark

    It certainly says a lot about how worthless this project is if they have to pay this much to get someone to generate optimistic lies about it in order to promote this white elephant. Like po’d says, we have much more urgent fiscal issues to address in this state with collapsing revenue and bloated budgets.

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