A new study by the libertarian Reason Foundation finds that the California High-Speed Rail System will saddle taxpayers with losses between $124 million to $373 million a year.
Exaggerated ridership estimates and slower-than-promised trip speeds make the California bullet train project a big financial loser for taxpayers, says the study.
“The California high-speed rail project cannot be delivered at the cost promised to taxpayers, is based upon a business plan incapable of delivering on its legal requirements, and is justified by proponents based upon unachievable benefits,” write the study’s authors, Wendell Cox, Joseph Vranich and Adrian Moore. “The [California High-Speed Rail Authority’s] financing assertions are virtual fantasy and represent additional evidence that its April 2012 Business Plan sorely fails the test of what constitutes a credible business plan. The taxpayers and the state would be best served by its immediate cancellation.”
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has already significantly lowered its 2035 ridership projections from 65.5 million to 117 million down to just 19.6 million to 31.8 million. Yet the Reason Foundation says even those lowered estimates are unrealistic; 2035 ridership is likely to be 65% to 77% lower.