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California's Bullet Train Will Take Even Longer To Go Nowhere


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Who benefits from the boondoggle?

Infrastructure: California's high-speed rail project will never make its current 2022 arrival time, according to the Los Angeles Times. Doesn't this strike anyone in charge of this costly boondoggle as ironic?

The Los Angeles Times does a commendable job of providing a reality check to the increasingly out-of-touch project. After reviewing project documents and talking to various experts, the paper concluded, "The deadline and budget targets will almost certainly be missed," and state officials have "underestimated the challenges ahead."

Officials still haven't settled on a route, they're behind schedule in acquiring land, getting permits and financing, and the project faces several lawsuits.

Boring on the 36 miles of planned tunnels isn't likely to get started until 2019, the Times notes, and by any reasonable estimate it will take another 7 to 14 years to complete. Even that's probably optimistic, since several parts will traverse known fault lines, vastly increasing the complexity of the effort.

It could easily take another four years after the tunnels are finished to install all the track and equipment. That means that completion of just Phase 1 of the bullet train will be closer to 2030.

Costs, which have already more than doubled, are likely to be higher than the current $68 billion estimate, the Times notes. Project-management firm Parsons Brinckerhoff said in a secret 2013 report, which the Times obtained, that it saw cost overruns "in almost every phase of the project." The state hasn't figured out how to finance the current costs, much less the overruns.

Officials have already backpedaled on the lofty promises of travel time and ridership. To keep costs down to $68 billion, for example, the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles won't be on high-speed rail at either end. And instead of 90 million a year, ridership is expected to be about 30 million.

Even if the train could make its goal of going from downtown to downtown in two hours and 40 minutes, which is highly dubious, that's still twice as long as it takes to fly between the two cities.

And that gets to the basic problem with this whole expensive mess. Why is California going through the trouble of tunneling and buying land and fighting lawsuits and digging itself into a massive financial hole when people can more cheaply fly over all those troubles today — and get to their destination in far less time?

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102615-777440-california-is-unlikely-to-hit-is-operation-deadline.htm#ixzz3pmkWJeqv

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I don't get the numbers.

Only a few million travel by air at the moment per year.

30-90 million will ride the train? Are they planning on having a crap ton more people by the time it's completed???

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