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New legislation adds taxpayer protection, fiscal controls to California's high-speed bond measure

(The following appeared on the Progressive Railroading website on August 27.)

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed a bill that adds taxpayer protection and cost-control language to a high-speed rail bond measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Assembly Bill 3034 amends Proposition 1 — a $9.95 billion bond measure for an 800-mile, statewide high-speed rail system — to include more fiscal oversight of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

"AB 3034 establishes additional fiscal controls on the expenditure of state bond funds to ensure that they are directed to construction activities in the most cost-effective and efficient way" said California Assemblywoman Catherine Galgiani, who introduced the legislation earlier this year, in a statement released June 3.

In addition, the legislation requires the authority to develop a new business plan and submit it to the legislature by Sept. 1. It also calls for an independent peer review to examine the project's planning, engineering and financing elements.

"Californians will now be able to vote on a high-speed train system grounded in public-private financing and guided by fiscal accountability with the guarantee of no new taxes to fund the system," said California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Quentin Kopp.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

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