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New cost estimate for high-speed rail puts California bullet train $100 billion in the red

Original post made on Mar 9, 2023

A new High-Speed Rail Authority report projects costs for the initial segment at $35 billion, which exceeds secured funding by $10 billion.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 9, 2023, 9:09 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by MidTown Guy
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2023 at 11:09 am

MidTown Guy is a registered user.

BART AROUND THE BAY would have been a better use of bond money than this endless boondoggle and fantasy money pit created to slake the thirst of political egos. No good stewardship in sight!

Posted by Barron Parker Too
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2023 at 1:14 pm

Barron Parker Too is a registered user.

"Boondoggle" is a surprisingly mild a word for this farce.

The current estimate for a 171 mile section in the central valley is $35B. Folks, that's $200 million for each mile of railway. The "rule of thumb" for rail construction is from 1 to 2 million dollars per mile. So $200 million per mile -- on mostly agricultural land -- is beyond absurd.

That $35 billion for the central valley segment "is now higher than the $33 billion estimate for the entire 500-mile Los Angeles to San Francisco system when voters approved a bond in 2008."
The $33 billion original estimate has increased to $128B in 15 years -- a factor of 4!

With these numbers, you know immediately that nothing will be built, not in 2037 or 2047, or ever.

Posted by Barron Park Denizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2023 at 3:06 pm

Barron Park Denizen is a registered user.

Barron Parker Too is right on, although the $128 billion re-estimate will prove to be low if this project actually proceeds. As the retired UC Berkeley professor noted, the report didn't even discuss the engineering challenges of 38 miles of tunnels through the highly faulted and earthquake-prone Southern California mountains. Those unmet challenges are why the initial segment is in the San Joaquin Valley instead of the original focus on more populated Southern California.

Time to end this High Speed Turkey, even with "free" Federal money.

Posted by Reality Check
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2023 at 5:50 pm

Reality Check is a registered user.

@Barron Parker Too: the cost of land (homes, farms & businesses), labor, materials and most everything else (interest rates) has and continues to go up for every year of delay caused by legal and political bickering. As we’ve seen with the Bay Bridge East Span (originally under $1b to over $6.5b) or VTA’s BART downtown SJ project (now up to $9.1b for 6 miles & 4 stations … and still not funded) or Muni’s over-budget and years late Central Subway, etc., etc. … one of the best ways to stop inflationary and other cost escalation is to fully fund and complete mega (or giga) projects sooner than later. Several countries have conceived, funded, built and are enjoying new HSR lines in the time far, far richer California (5th or 4th largest economy in the world if it were a country) has embarrassingly dithered around and treated our 2008 voter-approved HSR plan as the underfunded beleaguered political whipping boy that we’ve made it. Why can the rest of the poorer world (eg Turkey & Morocco) figure out how to fund, build, enjoy, and expand their HSR lines & networks while we in CA and the US sit around and wonder why we can’t have such nice things too?

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 9, 2023 at 10:42 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

We told you this would inevitably happen...more than a decade ago. Our state politicians are incapable of building something big without first spending all of the funds on "studies" and stretching construction by decades. Plenty of backs will be scratched though -- especially with extremely-long-term construction jobs.

If this monstrosity is ever completed, it will still be slower, less safe, less strategically convenient and more expensive than air travel. In fact, by the time this would ever be completed, the "environmental" component argued by its supporters (who argued that this was going to take "cars off the interstate") will be scratching their heads because there will be no new ICE vehicles sold in California by that time.

Posted by Leslie York
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2023 at 1:42 am

Leslie York is a registered user.

All those billions of dollars spent to carry a scant number of passengers between Bakersfield and Merced.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 13, 2023 at 11:26 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

When Governor Newsom first came into office I sent him a polite email requesting that realistically, this project was not feasible and to please shut it down. I never received a reply.
Meanwhile, “make work” - meaning union work has certainly carried on, even if it doesn’t make sense.
All this at taxpayer expense. Likely a total, really costly waste.
Please, speak up with our CA government officials, please engage with them. More people need to take brief time occasionally to do this. I mean about this and an array of other severely misguided schemes.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 14, 2023 at 9:13 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Why are we using foreign companies to build elements for a US transportaion effort. That appears to be the case across the board. Keep the US taxpayer money in US companies and US workers. We are suppose to be building our own expertise in large transportation efforts. We used to do that. What happened to that industrial category when all we talk about is building US infrastructure and putting homes next to transportation. We are not connecting the dots here. We are creating hypothetical arguments to support a point of view but the facts do not support the arguments.

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