Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Stunner: Cost of CA High-Speed Rail Project Triples, Won't Be Ready for 22 Years

By the time they get this finished the tab will probably be in the trillions and even then nobody will be using it? But hey, let go national with this high-speed rail nonsense and just bankrupt ourselves completely.
Faster than a speeding bullet train, the cost of the state's massive high-speed rail project has zoomed to nearly $100 billion -- triple the estimate given to voters and more than enough to run the entire state government for a year.

What's more, bullet trains won't be up and running until at least 2033, much later than the original estimate of 2020, although that depends on the state finding the remaining 90 percent of the funds needed to complete the plan.

The new figures come from a final business plan to be unveiled by the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Tuesday, though some of the details were leaked to the media, including this newspaper, on Monday. Officials at the rail authority did not respond to repeated requests for comment Monday.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday was expected to endorse the long-awaited plan, the first major update to the project in two years and the last before the federal deadline to begin construction next year. But state legislators, who were already skeptical, will tear through the plan starting Tuesday before deciding whether to start building, or to kill the project.

The new business plan pegs the price tag at $98.5 billion, accounting for inflation -- more than double the estimate of $42.6 billion from two years ago, when it was already the priciest public works development in the nation. It's a little less than triple the estimate of $33.6 billion voters were told when they approved the project in 2008. By comparison, the total state budget this year is $86 billion.

Much of the cost increase is due to the increased time of construction.

"We don't have anywhere to get that kind of money," said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Southern California Republican who has led the charge against the project. "I don't think there's any way you can do any part of this and keep the promise that was made to the taxpayers and (the voters). It just doesn't make any sense at all."

With the Golden State nearly broke, it now plans to secure funding largely by borrowing more, the Associated Press reported, though specifics were unclear. About 20 percent would come from the private sector.
Wonderful. They're basically broke, but will just borrow billions more for something nobody wants.


Fenway_Nation said...

Here's something to take into account the next time the rail network in the USA gets compared to the rail network in Japan or Europe- particularly vis a vis High Speed rail.

The overwhelming majority of the tracks here in the USA are owned by private companies like Norfolk Southern or Union Pacific, for starters.

Also, I think that cheerleaders for High Speed Rail fail to appreciate how many commodities move to market, export (or disposal) by way of rail in the USA: coal, tomatoes, grain, clay slurry, Liquified natural gas, trash, sand, ethanol, berries, auto parts, contaminated soil, acid, construction debris, molten sulfur, gravel, steel, coke, pipe, wood chips and even orange juice concentrate- and that's just the stuff that moves in dedicated unit trainsets.

And like the CSX ad blitz has been saying these last couple of years- one ton of freight can go over 400 miles on one gallon of fuel.

Also, it's worth noting that these high speed rail projects in Japan and France got started in the 1960s at the latest. Both countries had their transportation networks- particularly rail- reduced to rubble in WWII. So during the postwar rebuilding, somebody came up with the idea of creating a dedicated high speed rail line built from scratch, since they were essentially rebuilding their rail network from scratch (w/ a little help from the Marhsall fund). You want to see what happens when somebody embarks upon building high s

peed rail for no other reason than impressing gullible foreigners? Take a look at China...

kj said...

Can anyone say "BIG DIG"?

fiatlux said...

I love how they scientifically determined that the traindoggle will be ready in 22 years. How about a reality check?

There is a structure called the Bay Bridge. 22 years ago there was an Earthquake which damaged  part of the structure. It was decided that half the bridge should be replaced rather than repaired (although the repairs have worked for 22 years with the biggest danger being the changes they made for the construction of the new half-a-bridge.

It is predicted that that the half-abridge should be ready about 24 years after the earthquake. The cost will probably be over $12 billion (no it is not paved in gold.) I think the origial estimates were a couple billion and this was project involving an existing structure and zero need to acquire any right-of-ways or easements.

dmurray said...

Fund it with the profits from the stem cell boondoggle that passed as a ballot initiative in California too.