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California bullet train blasts budget, now set at $77.3 billion

California bullet train blasts budget, now set at $77.3 billion

The project was initially approved for $32 billion; new estimates indicate it could cost $98 billion.

The big news from California that Democrats are trying to promote is that there is over $6 billion in an unexpected budget surplus.

“We have to be on our guard. It’s not exciting, it’s not funding good and nice things, but it’s getting ready” for the next recession, [California Governor Jerry] Brown said.

But in the five months ahead of a budget revision in May, when the governor’s Finance Department will offer updated revenue and spending figures, Democrats in the state legislature are likely to offer their own ideas about how to spend the state’s $6.1 billion surplus, beyond the constitutionally mandated $1.5 billion contribution to the rainy day fund.

Perhaps our politicians may want to take a moment to thank President Trump, whose policies have helped grow an economy my state’s ruling class keeps trying to stifle. But, I digress.

And while the politicos in Sacramento bicker about how all the extra funds should be squandered, they should note that the money has already been spent . . . on the California high speed rail system, which has nearly tripled in cost estimates over initial projections.

Completion of California’s high-speed rail project has been pushed back four more years — into the 2030s — and the project’s costs are likely to shoot up to $77 billion, officials said Friday.

A revised business plan issued by the California High Speed Rail Authority said building the full San Francisco-to-Los Angeles bullet train line is expected to cost at least $63 billion, and $98 billion under a worst-case scenario. The middle-of-the-road estimate is $77 billion, according to the draft report, which will now undergo public comment and legislative scrutiny.

How the state will pay for the full project remains a critical question.

The bullet train’s most recent cost estimate was $64 billion, which was already double the original $32 billion price tag that was pitched to state voters when they authorized bond money for the project nearly a decade ago.

It appears that Democrat support is wavering for Brown’s legacy project.

The initial reaction to the business plan was less than enthusiastic, even from Democrats who have long backed it as a way to revolutionize transportation in the state while reducing emissions.

“At first glance, the High Speed Rail project is still over budget and the funding to complete the program hasn’t been identified,” said Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, which will hold an oversight hearing on the plan on April 2. “We still have no realistic way to pay for the project.”

Train supporters are pointing to the state’s cap & trade system to help fund the project.  The gas credit auction only brought in $1 billion last year, that leaves Sacramento having to figure out where the other $97 billions are coming from.

At this point, it appears that the only vehicle that will be using the new rails is the Karma Train.


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I thought the word “bullet” was a bad word in the Peoples Democratic Republik of Kalifornia? It’s only someone else’s money so why worry? The homeless problem isn’t addressed. Water projects could make Cali less vulnerable to drought. Etc,etc,etc.

Amazing how when leftists plan and budget for public works such as this, it never comes in on time and always seems to cost double or triple the amount. Always.

LukeHandCool | March 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm

Gosh, what generation of driverless cars will we be riding in circa 2035? 5th? 10?

Well, as you laugh hysterically as you watch the Boondoggle Express go by with nary a passenger, there will be no danger in taking your hands off the wheel to wipe away the tears.

In fact, there won’t be a steering wheel.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | March 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Would love to know how many Billion$ of taxpayer money the Kalifornia Politicians have skimmed off of this project for their own enrichment…….

This sounds just like Portland’s Ariel Tram which tripled in price because, drum roll, the cost of the steel doubled. And this was reported with a straight face and no one questioned it.

This boondoggle is like kalifornia itself: a train to nowhere.

California used to lead the nation in trends. Now, the pendulum is swinging the other way: California is leading the nation in collapse.

It was going to cost over $100 billion. They cut the estimated price of the slow train to no where by eliminating unnecessary parts like trains and repair centers.

    Oh, there’s no ‘was’ in that. The bullet train *will* cost far more than 100 billion dollars if it covers the territory that is promised, *plus* a check with a huge number of zeroes in it every year to keep it on life support. If it costs less than a hundred and *fifty* billion, I’ll be stunned.

$98 billion under a worst-case scenario

The more money they talk about, the more money there is to steal (even if, for now, most of it’s imaginary). Opportunities abound for ambitious corruptocrats. At $98B they’re talking Feinstein levels of corruption. So expect that number to rocket upward.

    randian in reply to tom_swift. | March 11, 2018 at 3:52 am

    I’ve long believed that a bunch of the missing hundreds of millions of dollars at the state department ended up in Hilary Clinton’s hands, and probably some of the other top officials at State too.

    I’ve also found it quite bizarre that when tens or hundreds of millions of missing dollars is discovered in a government audit that the officials responsible for overseeing the department (which in the case of the State Department certainly includes Hilary) are not immediately under deep investigation for embezzlement. Embezzlement is one of the most obvious reasons for missing money, is it not? So far as I can tell nobody at the State Department was investigated for that crime, or for how the books must have been cooked so nobody noticed the missing cash until an audit was done.

History repeats. The “Big Dig” in Boston was to cost about $2.4 billion. It came in at around $22 billion. California – pushing the unsustainable under the guise of sustainability. Psychopaths are at the helm.

By the time they’re done they’ll have just enough money left to buy one locomotive and no train cars.

But, if they then tear up the rails they’ll have a nice bike-and-hike path!