California high-speed rail more than double the cost and ten years late if funded

California rail authority announced that the cost of connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $77.3 billion and could rise as high as $98.1 billion. This is $13 billion higher than estimates from two years ago and doubles the original $33 billion. Nextbigfuture states the obvious that the $77.3 figure is still a lie where they are trying to quote a price just short of triple and $98.1 billion is still wishful thinking.

The new plan projects it will cost $29.5 billion to build an initial operating segment from a station in San Francisco to Bakersfield. The original idea was that the federal government would pay about a third of what was then an estimated $33-billion project, with private investors covering another third.

The rail authority is hoping to get all of the future California greenhouse gas fees until 2050 to pay for the High-speed rail.

It would be far better to cancel this waste and focus on a network of self-driving cars and self-driving buses. Drone flying cars and pocket airports would also be something that would work better in California.

Hyperloop would only work in California when combined with Boring company tunneling. The above ground legal situation in California prevents getting the right path.

The speed of the proposed HSR system in California will not reach high-speed rail speeds because of the stops that are needed.

Phase 1 will be about 520 miles and is now claimed to have an estimated cost of $78 to $98 billion. This is $150 million to $180 million per mile. This is $94-118 million per kilometer.

The system will be five to ten timesthe average cost of $17–21 million per km of high-speed rail in China and about three to four times the $25–39 million per km average for similar projects in Europe.

The new draft business plan identifies the following investment priorities:
1. Meet the Commitments to Federal Funding Partner: The Authority will complete the 119-mile segment in the Central Valley and complete environmental review for the entire Phase 1 System between San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by 2022, as required by the federal grant agreement.
2. Extend the Valley-to-Valley Service from San Francisco to Bakersfield: The draft business plan recognizes the high ridership and revenue potential of linking the Silicon Valley with the Central Valley between San Francisco and Bakersfield.
3. Deliver 224 Miles of High-Speed Rail Ready Infrastructure for Use by 2027: The draft business plan proposes to construct high-speed rail ready infrastructure in the Central Valley (Madera to Bakersfield) and in Silicon Valley (San Francisco to Gilroy) to reduce travel times for existing passenger rail systems, expand clean, electrified service, and prepare the corridors for testing and potential early high-speed rail operations.
4. Continue Bookend Investment in Southern and Northern California: The draft business plan continues to prioritize improving Los Angeles Union Station, the Burbank to Anaheim corridor and the electrification of the Caltrain corridor in the Bay Area.

The rail authority also said the earliest trains could operate on a partial system between San Francisco and Bakersfield would be 2029 — four years later than the previous projection. The full system would not begin operating until 2033.

The new estimates will force California’s leadership to double down on its political and financial commitments if it wants to see the system completed, against a backdrop of rising costs, years of delays, strident litigation and backlashes in communities where homes, businesses, farms and environmental preserves will have to give up land to the rail’s right-of-way.

The rail authority’s previous business plan made the case that it had just enough money in hand to build an initial operating system that could carry passengers and generate revenues, which would potentially attract private investors to help finance completion of the system. The new business plan implicitly makes clear that higher costs and uncertain funding leave it short of that critical goal.

The rail authority has wrestled with a more than $40-billion funding gap for the full system, which would increase further under the new cost estimates. It is still counting on the Legislature to amend the state’s greenhouse gas auction system so that the system could borrow against future fees through 2050, but even with that benefit the project faces a financial shortfall that only partnerships with the federal government and private investors could plug, said rail authority chief executive Brian Kelly.

The new business plan is based on a wide range of uncertainties, Kelly said. Among the most challenging is the cost of about 36 miles of tunnels through mountainous Southern California, which could range anywhere from $26 billion to $45 billion, according to the report.

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