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Saturday, March 4, 2023

The Train to Nowhere

 California's "high-speed" rail project is a fiasco.

Ashley Zavala at KCRA-TV:

California's bullet train project that is meant to link Los Angeles to San Francisco faces more cost increases and potential delays, according to an update from project leaders released this week.

High Speed Rail Authority officials on Thursday could not provide an estimated completion date for the original vision pitched to voters but said the price tag for the entire project is now up to $128 billion, a 13% increase from last year's projections.

Construction is currently focused on a segment in the Central Valley, a 170-mile stretch between Bakersfield and Merced. Project officials last year estimated that the route would be ready for riders in 2030. While that is still their goal, the latest update shows service could begin sometime between 2030 and 2033.

The Central Valley segment also faces 41% in cost increases compared to last year's estimates, now expected to cost up to $35.3 billion. Part of the scoping plan changed between this year and last, with this year's estimate including light maintenance facilities and new elements for the station in Bakersfield. Project leaders also pointed to the impacts of COVID-19, inflation and supply chain issues that have raised the prices of labor, concrete and steel.