High Speed Rail Chair Speaks to Abrupt Resignation - NBC Southern California
Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

High Speed Rail Chair Speaks to Abrupt Resignation



    NewsConference: Thomas Umberg, Chairman, California High-Speed Authority

    Trouble at the top for California's High-Speed bullet train plan. The cost has doubled. Now the top two leaders have quit on the same day. We talk to chairman Thomas Umberg about why he is stepping down. (Published Monday, Jan. 16, 2012)

    The California High Speed Rail Commission had a tumultuous week as the two individuals most responsible for building a $100 billion bullet train in California quit their posts.

    CEO Roelof van Ark stepped down claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family, and Chairman Thomas Umberg said he no longer wants his position.

    The new year will be busy for the state’s high speed rail authority, which is moving to the Department of Transportation, about to complete its business plan and are anticipating to start construction by the end of 2012.

    "All of those things really require a full-time chair," Umberg said. "I thought it bet that it have full-time leadership. I can’t provide that full-time leadership."

    Bullet Train Troubles

    [LA] Bullet Train Troubles
    Cost of the "bullet" train has recently doubled and two project executives have quit. Can the train plans stay on track?
    (Published Monday, Jan. 16, 2012)

    Dan Richard will take over the reins from Umberg who said the project is headed in the right direction, citing state and federal support of the bullet train, and $6 billion to begin construction.

    But Umberg’s opinion of the project differs greatly from that of a peer review commission, which advised the state legislature not to issue bonds for the first segment of project to be built in the San Joaquin Valley.

    The commission criticized the $100 billion project as financially unfeasible.

    "We have $12 billion, or at least the capacity to generate $12 billion, so it’s not quite as large a figure as they calculated," Umberg said.

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.