The High Speed Rail authority has been under near-constant barrage over its business plan, costs, local government objections, and a widespread belief of voters that they want the chance to vote on the project again. Combatting those problems cost the Authority $12 million in the last year, and some people are wondering how.

In Bakersfield, the Californian took one question from a reader and provided a fairly complete picture – or at least a complete of a picture as is available.

Kern County Gene Tackett was paid $70,652 by the authority in just six months. That amount – which came in ten invoices between two phases of the project – was for a total of 394 hours (paid at the rate of $150 per hour).

But at least one Californian is asking: what did he do to earn the money? Well, the invoices didn’t volunteer any more information than “outreach” or “stakeholder meetings and briefings.” Next year, Tackett’s consulting company has been authorized to bill as much as $125,900.

From the Bakersfield Californian:

While the rail authority was unable last week to provide all of Tackett’s invoices on the project, the 10 it did turn over show that he billed for 394 hours of work performed between July 1 and Nov. 25, for a total of $59.100.

That time was divided between “stakeholder meetings and briefings” and “outreach” on two project segments: the Fresno-to-Bakersfield portion (268 hours, 15 minutes) and the part from Bakersfield to Palmdale (125 hours, 45 minutes).

Read the full article here.