California’s high-speed ‘bullet’ rail project is now estimated to cost $100 billion more than originally anticipated when voters approved it in 2008 — and it is only going to connect the rural towns of Bakersfield and Merced.
New cost figures issued in an update report from the California High-Speed Rail Authority show that the plan to build the 171-mile initial segment has shot up to a high of $35 billion, exceeding secured funding by $10 billion.
The cost of that partial system 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.
What’s worse, that full system cost is set at up to $128 billion in the update, leaving a total funding gap of more than $100 billion for politicians to ponder.
As Breitbart News has reported over the years, the project ran into trouble from the beginning: first, failing to meet the original promise of running from San Francisco to Los Angeles; then running into environmental problems; and, finally, exceeding the original time frame by decades and the original cost by billions of dollars.
In 2019, shortly after taking office, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) admitted that the project “would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long.” He canceled the L.A.-to-San Francisco project, though kept its rural leg.
But then-President Donald Trump promptly demanded that California returned the billions of dollars federal taxpayers had already given the state for the project. He clawed back about $1 billion, which was later restored under the Biden administration by Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Yet the train remains a failure.
In contrast, a private high-speed rail line connecting Southern California to Las Vegas is nearing construction. In that case, there is more hope that riders will use the train to avoid traffic and as a form of entertainment.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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