California’s State Auditor Elaine Howle criticized planners of the Delta tunnels for paying millions of dollars to an unqualified consulting firm and not completing a cost-benefit analysis of the $17.1 billion project.
In the 97 page report, Ms. Howle said the California Department of Water Resources broke state law in 2009 by hiring a Sacramento company called Hallmark Group to oversee a portion of the planning process. The report claims Hallmark, “does not appear to possess the technical credentials or experience on relevant projects.”
As of July, Hallmark Group received approximately $13.8 million to run the “conservation and conveyance” portion of the project.
Additionally, a federal audit found the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation provided an improper $50 million subsidy to federal contractors who help pay the cost of the planning, a subsidy which ran counter to an assertion by Governor Jerry Brown’s administration that no taxpayer funds would be used for the tunnels. (Source: Sacramento Bee, October 5).