High-Speed Rail Likely to Cost More Than Projected, Analysis Finds

An analysis by the Los Angeles Times found that the deadline and budget targets for the state’s high-speed rail project “almost certainly will be missed,” and that “the state has underestimated the challenges ahead, particularly completing the tunneling on time.”

The Times wrote: “The monumental task of building California’s bullet train will require punching 36 miles of tunnels through the geologically complex mountains north of Los Angeles. Crews will have to cross the tectonic boundary that separates the North American and Pacific plates, boring through a jumble of fractured rock formations and a maze of earthquake faults, some of which are not mapped. It will be the most ambitious tunneling project in the nation’s history.”

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has not yet chosen a route through the mountains, is behind schedule on land acquisition and other tasks, and is facing several suits, the newspaper noted.

Additionally, the Times found that the main contractor for the project briefed project officials in October 2013 about the likelihood of the cost increasing at least 5 percent above estimates, but the rail authority used a lower cost estimate when it released a business plan four months later. (Source: Los Angeles Times, October 26.)

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