San Joaquin County Supervisors Respond to State Auditor’s Report Revealing Illegal and Questionable Actions in State’s Twin Tunnels Planning Efforts
Audit Raises Additional Concerns about WaterFix’s Financial Viability
From the County of San Joaquin:
After a California state audit revealed that the Department of Water Resources hired an unqualified consulting firm for a multi-million dollar California WaterFix contract without a competitive selection process which generally resulted in an increased markup of 5% and neglected to provide an appropriate economic feasibility analysis of the project, San Joaquin County Supervisors issued the following statements raising concerns about the legality and financial viability of the twin tunnels project:
“We applaud the State Auditor’s office’s findings that WaterFix proponents have been wasting public money in the planning phase. The WaterFix has been plagued by significant cost increases and schedule delays which was inevitable since the proponents have ignored economic and scientific facts pertaining to the tunnels. The Auditor’s statement that the State did not demonstrate a financial viability of the tunnels project, nor did it conduct an economic analysis, should be an alarm for water agencies that are considering a vote to support this project. Their constituents will be better served if these water agencies vote to reject the wholly inadequate WaterFix plan and look for real projects that provide additional water and benefits at a substantially reduced cost. This is the same pattern uncovered by the $1.7 billion cost overrun on the High Speed Rail,” said San Joaquin County Supervisor Chuck Winn.
“How many instances of dishonesty, negligence and dirty politics need to occur before more water agencies admit that WaterFix should no longer be pursued? The federal government uncovered misuse of $50 million in U.S tax dollars to fund the tunnels; news outlets exposed the State’s last minute scheme to require water agencies that don’t benefit to pay for the tunnels; and now an independent State audit confirms the skyrocketing costs and questionable actions taken by the State to plan WaterFix. Transparency and integrity issues aside, the audit’s concern about the financial viability of the project and its conclusion that after spending nearly $300 million, the State is ill-prepared to proceed with the design and construction phase of WaterFix should greatly concern all Californians,” said San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller.
The audit was requested in 2016 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman and Senator Lois Wolk to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee amid concerns regarding ballooning costs for twin tunnels planning and preparation.
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