California needs another $100 billion to complete bullet train’s San Francisco to Los Angeles route

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News March 14, 2024

The CEO of California’s bullet train project told state lawmakers on Tuesday that it will take an additional $100 billion in funding to complete the route connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Artistic rendering of a high-speed train running in California’s Central Valley. / Public Domain

Brian Kelly told the state Senate’s Transportation Committee that the High-Speed Rail Authority has been “doing it in building blocks. We’re giving you the portions we think we can get done with the funding we have.”

Kelly said the project has $28 billion dollars on hand, but noted it was still a few billion dollars short to complete the Central Valley segment between Merced and Bakersfield.

Depending on how long the segment takes to finish, it could cost between $32 Billion to $35 Billion. Kelly said the project is hoping to fill the gap with federal taxpayer funds. Just that segment of the project, Kelly said, is not expected to be fully operational until between 2030 and 2033.

Voters were originally pitched and approved the bullet train project in 2008.

The state said 422 miles of the project’s 500-mile Phase 1 alignment from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim has received environmental clearance, with 119 miles in active construction. None of the segments has yet to open for travel.

Democrat state Sen. Ben Allen complained that a significant portion of the state’s funds meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are going toward the high-speed rail project.

Republican state Sen. Kelly Seyarto said “the air is being sucked out of the room by this one project. How do we get the public on board with something that has this much of a downside funding wise?”

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