California High Speed Rail

In this Oct. 9, 2019, file photo, is the high-speed rail viaduct paralleling Highway 99 near Fresno, Calif. 

(The Center Square) – It turns out high-speed rail is more expensive than California officials previously thought. 

The California High-Speed Rail Authority released its revised cost projections this week and found the project is becoming more expensive. 

Four years ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his plan for a bullet train that travels 171 miles; he said it would begin operating in 2030 and cost $22.8 billion to construct. 

However, the cost projection has risen dramatically since then. Now, the 171-mile initial segment is projected to cost as much as $35 billion. It means the state would need to secure an additional $10 billion to complete the project, according to CalMatters.

Furthermore, the projected cost of the entire 500-mile high-speed rail line has quadrupled since voters approved the plan in 2008. It has increased to the point where that 171-mile stretch may cost more than what the entire project was expected to cost.

Back then, a 500-mile high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco was projected to cost $33 billion. The state’s new projection says the project will cost $128 billion. It leaves a more than $100 billion funding gap for politicians to find a way to close. 

The funding gap has created questions among experts as to whether the rail project will be completed.

The state’s High-Speed Rail Authority still projects that high-speed rail service between Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield will begin between 2030 and 2033. It also says the state will begin train testing on its first 119-mile electrified high-speed rail test track by 2028.

“Although we maintain our goal to become operational by the end of 2030, we recognize that stabilized funding dedicated to that objective is required to make it so,” the California High-Speed Rail Authority said in a statement accompanying the report.