As we discussed last month, the legislature's ongoing budget standoff put the California High Speed Rail Authority on the verge of shutting down its operations as it had run out of money to pay contractors and staff. This was an especially worrisome problem for two reasons: 1) the need to continue operations to position California to get HSR stimulus funds, and 2) the need to provide up-to-date information to concerned residents along the proposed route.
Last week the state had a successful sale of bonds, and yesterday the pooled money investment board gave CHSRA the $29.1 million it needed to keep working through the end of June:
California's financially strapped high-speed rail project has received an infusion of $29 million to get it back on track through the middle of the year...
That led most of the private consultants who were performing engineering and environmental reviews to stop working because they weren't being paid, said Mehdi Morshed, the rail board's executive director.
He said the treasurer's decision to issue commercial paper to provide the $29 million was "excellent news."
"We're finally back to work again," he said.
We're probably going to have to have this fight again in June, when the state tackles an $8 billion shortfall (which could be larger if the initiatives on the May 19 ballot fail). Let's hope that we see some true political leadership this time from Sacramento in support of this project.