High-speed rail

An artist's rendering of a high-speed rail station. (California High-Speed Rail Authority / May 3, 2013)

The California bullet train agency on Thursday defended its bidding criteria for selecting the winner for its first construction contract, saying that the process held down prices and was handled properly.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has come under fire from critics who assert changes to the bidding criteria could jeopardize the quality of the project. The authority tentatively chose a team led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to build a 29-mile segment of track through Fresno even though it had the lowest technical score. The team had the lowest-cost bid, at just under $1 billion.

Changes to the bid evaluation criteria were made public in August 2011 but were not approved by the agency's board.

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