The California Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that the project is poorly-managed. It called for start-up work to be delayed and for its first leg to be built not in the Central Valley, but in San Francisco or Los Angeles where it could be closely monitored.
$3.5 billion in grants has been approved for the high-speed rail system. A change would break terms of the federal grants, and U.S. transportation officials say the 2012 start-up cannot legally be changed or moved.
The proposed rail system between Anaheim and San Francisco has been in the works for 16 years. Planners envision a public-private system connecting California's major cities at speeds up to 220 mph, competing with airlines and reducing highway congestion and urban sprawl.
The Associated Press contributed to this story