California's bullet train boondoggle is over budget by billions

via Fox News by Barnini Chakraborty

It’s billions of dollars over budget and seven years behind schedule, and appears to have no plausible way of living up to its goal of getting riders across the state in three hours or less.

Welcome to what’s arguably the nation’s largest infrastructure project and California’s biggest boondoggle.

The highly hyped bullet train has been a challenge from the start. No one thought it would be technically, financially and politically easy, but the way the project has been mishandled has some Californians fed up and demanding answers.

Just this week, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the organization charged with overseeing construction, reported that the cost of the first segment had dramatically risen – again.

“The worst-case scenario has happened,” admitted Roy Hill, lead consultant on the project.

Since its start, this hot-mess express of a project has been plagued by delays and has blown through every single budget estimate imaginable. And it’ll likely cost the state and taxpayers more in the coming months and years.

Much more.

“The so-called bullet train is a solution in search of a problem that is plagued by billions of dollars in cost overruns and fiscal mismanagement,” San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey told Fox News. “The billions being wasted on this boondoggle could have been invested in our current infrastructure needs, such as water storage, flood control, highways and bridges.”

This week’s updated cost estimate -- to complete just the first phase - a 119-mile segment in the Central Valley - has ballooned to $10.6 billion. That’s a jaw-dropping 77 percent increase from initial estimates, 36 percent higher than forecasts from a year ago.

When California voters in 2008 narrowly approved $10 billion in bond as seed money for the high-speed rail development, they were told the total cost would be about $43 billion.

Fresh estimates put it now at $67 billion.

The complete story here > California's bullet train (and biggest boondoggle) is over budget by billions

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