Professional Engineers in California Government, a union representing state engineers, is questioning the inspection process for the first phase of the state’s $68 billion high-speed rail project. Under bid guidelines, the contractor selected to design and build the initial segment would hire inspectors responsible for checking the work. The union contends that this could lead to conflicts of interest. "We believe that when you have a major public infrastructure project of that nature, that you should have somebody looking out for the public to ensure it is being built safely," said Bruce Blanning, the union's executive director. Meanwhile, California High-Speed Rail Authority officials said the inspection system will be thorough and could "add more inspections at any time -- by independent operators or CalTrans staffers."