Report 2018-108 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2018-108: California High‑Speed Rail Authority: Its Flawed Decision Making and Poor Contract Management Have Contributed to Billions in Cost Overruns and Delays in the System's Construction (Release Date: November 2018)

Recommendations to High-Speed Rail Authority, California
Number Recommendation Status

To ensure that the change orders it approves are necessary and that their costs are appropriate, the Authority should adhere to the guidance and estimates the oversight firms provide to it. If the Authority chooses to deviate from the oversight firms' recommendations, it should clearly document why it made those deviations.

Fully Implemented

Before executing its next construction contract, the Authority should establish formal prerequisites for beginning construction to prevent avoidable cost overruns and project delays. At a minimum, these prerequisites should identify specific benchmarks related to land acquisition, utility agreements and relocations, and agreements with external stakeholders, including impacted local governments and other railroad operators.

Fully Implemented

To better position itself to complete the three Central Valley projects by the December 2022 federal grant deadline, the Authority should improve its monitoring and evaluation of the oversight firms' risk assessment processes and should take steps to ensure that these processes are consistent across the three projects by May 2019.

Fully Implemented

To enable policymakers and the public to track the Authority's progress toward meeting the federal grant deadline of December 2022, the Authority should, by January 2019, begin providing quarterly updates to the Legislature detailing the progress of the three Central Valley construction projects using an earned value model that compares construction progress to the projected total completion cost and date. The Authority should base these updates on the most current estimates available.

Partially Implemented

To ensure that it is adequately prepared if it is unable to meet the federal grant deadline of December 2022, the Authority should, by May 2019, develop a contingency plan for responding to such a scenario.

Fully Implemented

To improve its contract management, increase accountability, and justify the significant amount it pays for contracted services, the Authority should, by May 2019, prioritize contract management efforts and reduce the frequency with which contract management responsibilities shift among Authority staff by establishing a formal process for hiring and assigning full-time, experienced contract managers. These contract managers should have duty statements reflecting their contract oversight responsibilities, and they should report to supervisors who understand those responsibilities and have extensive knowledge about the contracts' deliverables. In addition, those supervisors' duty statements should clearly lay out their responsibility for addressing any contract manager noncompliance with the Authority's contract management policies and procedures, whether reported by CMSU or identified by another means.

Fully Implemented

To improve its contract management, increase accountability, and justify the significant amount it pays for contracted services, the Authority should, by May 2019, require CMSU to establish a schedule to monitor individual contract manager compliance and report annually the results of this monitoring to Authority executive leadership. To help ensure the integrity of its oversight role, CMSU should be composed of state staff in place of RDP consultants.

Fully Implemented

To improve its contract management, increase accountability, and justify the significant amount it pays for contracted services, the Authority should, by May 2019, hold contract managers accountable for performing the duties that the Authority's policies assign to them. Specifically, CMSU and, to the extent necessary, contract managers' supervisors should require and review evidence from contract managers demonstrating their approval of deliverables, detection and resolution of contractor performance issues, and assessment of contract amendments for merit. The Authority should not accept observations and reports from its contractors or the RDP consultants in place of this evidence.

Fully Implemented

To prevent the inappropriate use of contractors to perform state functions, the Authority should develop procedures by May 2019 for evaluating whether new and existing administrative duties should be assigned to contractors or to state employees.

Fully Implemented

To ensure that contract managers' invoice reviews are complete and that invoiced costs are allowable under contract terms, the Authority should amend its applicable procedures by May 2019 to require contract managers to document their review of invoiced rates and expenses.

Fully Implemented

To ensure the consistency and effectiveness of its efforts to monitor the performance of the oversight firms with which it contracts, the Authority should develop a formal methodology by May 2019 for using the performance evaluation tool it has implemented. This methodology should include procedures for assessing the sufficiency of the oversight firms' review and approval of invoices for construction contracts.

Fully Implemented

To ensure that the oversight firms' spending is reasonable, the Authority should develop a formal process by May 2019 for tracking any out-of-scope work that the oversight firms perform. To reduce the likelihood that its contracts with the oversight firms run out of funds prematurely as a result of this additional work, the Authority should also develop a formal process for amending the oversight firms' contracts contemporaneously to change orders that significantly extend the timelines or increase the scope of work of the construction contracts that oversight firms oversee.

Fully Implemented

To help improve the effectiveness of its sustainability policy, the Authority should revise the policy by May 2019 to more clearly differentiate between the construction and operation phases of the high-speed rail system. Further, it should ensure that each objective in each section of the policy is associated with quantifiable metrics for evaluating implementation.

Fully Implemented

To allow it to evaluate the sustainability of the high-speed rail system's construction, the Authority should, by May 2019, perform and document a review of its compliance with its existing quality controls related to ensuring the validity and completeness of contractor-reported data. The Authority should also establish a formal process to perform such reviews periodically.

Fully Implemented

To help ensure that it meets its sustainability goals, the Authority should comprehensively compare the three construction projects' performances to their construction contractors' original baseline estimates on a quarterly basis. It should perform the first of these comparisons no later than May 2019.

Fully Implemented

To help ensure that its contractors' proposed environmental impacts are reasonable and to measure the progress of its sustainable construction efforts over time, the Authority should, by November 2019, identify and track standardized measures—such as project miles—that will allow it to compare construction impacts across the high-speed rail system's different construction projects.

Fully Implemented

To increase the transparency of its reporting, the Authority should, by May 2019, expand its quarterly small business, DVBE, and DBE utilization reporting to account for the total value of all its contracts and to identify the reasons it has exempted specific contracts.

Fully Implemented

Print all recommendations and responses.