The estimated cost for the first phase of California's bullet train climbed by 35% on Tuesday to $10.6 billion, the latest increase for the high-speed rail line from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The $2.8 billion price hike for a 119-mile segment in the Central Valley puts the entire cost of the project at roughly $67 billion, although officials said they hope to recover the newly announced costs later. It was projected to cost $40 billion in 2008 when voters approved bond financing.
Some of the fresh costs stem from trouble acquiring the rights of way for the track in the Central Valley. The authority entered into construction contracts before fully securing rights of way in all areas. The decision to enter into contracts quickly was partly due to the need to spend $2.5 billion in federal stimulus money by last fall.
A 2008 ballot measure passed by voters promised a train that would run from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours by 2029, with the track eventually expanding to Sacramento and San Diego. In October the rail board approved a $30 million contract with DB Engineering & Consulting USA to design and operate the train from the Central Valley to the Silicon Valley in its early stages.
A fresh estimate on overall costs and possibly the timeline will be included in a business plan the authority must submit to lawmakers this spring.
Source: KABC-TV (Los Angeles)/The Associated Press