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California High-Speed Rail Authority Undergoes Leadership Shakeup

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California High-Speed Rail

Rendering of a high-speed rail train. (CA High-Speed Rail Authority)

ChrisFilippi 20100909_KCBS_0379r Chris Filippi
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SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Just days after the release of a scathing critique of the bullet train project, the chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced he was stepping down.

CEO Roelof van Ark announced during a board meeting in Los Angeles Thursday he would leave his post in February.

Chairman of the board of directors Tom Umberg also announced he would will step down in February, but remain on the board.

The recently released report had urged state lawmakers to reject billions of dollars in bonds for the project.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“It shows that they’re having trouble running and they’re losing credibility, so things need to be changed,” reasoned high-speed rail critic, Assemblyman David Valadao, R-Hanford.

He considers the resignations to be a sign that the project is losing credibility.

The cost of the project has also soared from its original estimate of $33 billion to more than $98 billion.

But, hig- speed rail supporters say the change in leadership will help get the project back on track. Former BART board president Dan Richard is expected to succeed Umberg as chairman.

“I’m encouraged, I think it’s a good sign. They’ve got a lot of challenges, we’ve got a lot of challenges ahead of us,” acknowledged high speed rail supporter, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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