Sacramento — Despite no detailed financial plan, cost-benefit analysis, and unsavory findings in both federal and state audit reports, CA WaterFix proponents have planned an “Industry Day,” for potential contractors and clients.
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, General Manager of Metropolitan Water District, Jeff Kightlinger announced via email that the state would be hosting the “Industry Day”. Specifically, Kightlinger noted in his email that,
“Metropolitan was asked to help facilitate these workshops because we have experience with large projects and have an outstanding business outreach program to promote the engagement of diverse contractors and subcontractors, including small and veteran-owned enterprises.”
Metropolitan’s level of involvement and influence in planning for CA WaterFix only seems to increase over time, while DWR appears to be a captive agency with the regulated now managing the regulator.
The Department of Water Resources and Metropolitan Water District came under fire during a Walnut Grove town hall meeting last week which discussed the financial feasibility of the Delta Tunnels.
Two representatives from the Office of the State Auditor, Mike Tildon and Jordan Wright spoke before the Delta Caucus and described at length the findings within the state audit on CA WaterFix’s planning and design costs. In addition to costs rising significantly over budget, the state auditor found that DWR to this day has not completed an economic analysis on the financial viability of the project and the agency violated the law by contracting with the Hallmark Company– a sweetheart deal given at the recommendation of Metropolitan Water District. Wright explained,
“Hallmark did not have on staff an individual with the required license. They didn’t have a licensed architect, engineer, or general contractor. Similarly, DWR was not able to provide us any evidence that they had followed a competitive process and evaluated Hallmark’s competence and qualifications to provide those services.”
University of the Pacific Economist Dr. Jeff Michael was also in attendance and gave a detailed presentation on what costs could look like for the tunnels proposal as presented. Dr. Michael noted,
“The conclusion of benefit-cost analysis, we hear about how terrible the status quo is, but when you get benefit cost ratios of 23 cents to 39 cents on the dollar, what that’s telling you is that your solution is worse than the status quo. Your solution is more costly than the costs of the problem.”
CA WaterFix’s Industry Day on December 6, will be available to stream online via the MWD website.