Cost overrun could derail bullet train

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 - 11:10 am

Re “Brown seeks judicial help on bullet train” (Capitol & California, Jan. 25): Caltrans said that the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge would cost $1.5 billion. The actual cost was $6.5 billion. The “Big Dig” project in Boston was projected to cost $6 billion. Actual cost upon completion: $14.6 billion. The Journal of the American Planning Association studied the cost of various public works projects and determined that rail projects come in over cost more than any other type of work, and that the overruns average 45 percent. Proponents of the California High Speed Rail estimate its cost to be $68 billion. Assuming an overrun of 45 percent, it will cost $98.6 billion. If the high-speed rail project has cost overruns similar to the Bay Bridge’s or those of the “Big Dig,” it will cost between $165 billion and $290 billion. High-speed rail is unaffordable in a state that has $329 billion in unfunded pension liability alone. The governor needs to stop this project now.

-- Ken Hokanson, Loomis

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