Perspectives on FRA’s Oversight of the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program and of Federal Funding for the California High-Speed Rail Authority
On August 9, 2018, Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee at a hearing focused on the continued oversight of the California high-speed rail project.
The Inspector General’s testimony noted that the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has faced several challenges in developing an oversight framework for the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program but has also taken action to address many of them in response to OIG’s previous findings and recommendations. FRA also took steps to address certain weaknesses in its oversight of HSIPR funds. At the Subcommittee Chairman’s request, OIG recently initiated an audit of FRA’s oversight of its grants to the California high-speed rail project, which will assess the Agency’s risk analysis, assessment, and mitigation efforts as well as its procedures for overseeing the expended Federal funds. To meet these objectives, OIG will examine FRA’s management of the HSIPR program in general and specifically the oversight of its grants to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Inspector General noted that because the audit is still in its initial phase, the evidence OIG has collected is not yet sufficient to allow for any reporting of preliminary findings. OIG plans to issue its report in spring 2019.