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California High-Speed Rail Chief to Resign

Thursday, 12 Jan 2012 08:20 PM

The head of the authority charged with building high-speed rail in California plans to resign, adding another question mark to a project whose estimated cost more than doubled in November.

Roelof van Ark, chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority since June 2010, will step down in about two months, Rachel Wall, the authority’s spokeswoman, said by email.

The authority’s chairman, Tom Umberg, said he would leave his position while remaining a member, Wall said. Wall herself is resigning her position for a job with Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The train service is supposed to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles by 2033 at speeds of as much as 220 miles an hour (354 kph).

In November, the California High-Speed Rail Authority more than doubled the estimated cost of the 800-mile project to $98.5 billion from $43 billion. Two months later, a panel of state appointees advised against selling bonds for the system, saying it lacks a long-term funding plan.

In 2008, voters approved the sale of $9.95 billion in bonds to help finance the train, most of which haven’t been sold.

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2012-20-12
Thursday, 12 Jan 2012 08:20 PM
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