B-b-but, But Joe Biden Said!

by Daniel Foster

In 2008, voters in California approved bonding for a $43 billion high-speed rail linking the San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas by 2020. Now it looks like that project will take more than twice as long, and cost almost twice as much:

California’s bullet train will cost an estimated $98.5 billion to build over the next 22 years, a price nearly double any previous projection and one likely to trigger political sticker shock, according to a business plan scheduled to be unveiled Tuesday.

In a key change, the state has decided to stretch out the construction schedule by 13 years, completing the Southern California-to-Bay Area high speed rail in 2033 rather than 2020.

The delay allows inflation to drive up the price over the additional years of construction.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, the state agency running the project, plans to unveil the new business plan in a news conference Tuesday morning in Sacramento.

Naturally, there’s a fun federal stimulus kicker: $3.5 billion in federal funds for the project are contingent on starting the project in the relatively low-population Central Valley area, instead of in large metropolitan areas, causing many to worry that California will run out of money and enthusiasm for the project and leave the state with a bullet train to nowhere.

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