California high speed rail plans derailed yet again


This is so predictable. California makes perky lowball estimates on massive projects only to find, quelle surprise, that reality does not agree with them.

“Shovel-ready” California high speed rail construction in the Central Valley has been delayed yet again. Seems that engineers somehow underestimated the technical challenges of the project, deep pockets ranchers are resisting having their land grabbed, and – I know you’ll be a shocked by this as I am – projected costs are rising sharply. Construction was supposed to start in 2012 and now won’t start until at least 2014.

The state needs hundreds of parcels of land to build the first 130 miles of rail bed from Madera to Bakersfield by 2017. So far, it has made 106 offers to buy land and has “taken possession” of one parcel.

Right of way access has not yet been negotiated with railways and environmental permits have yet to be issued. What a clown show.


  1. Big, ambitious, visionary projects take time, cost money, and always come with unforeseen delays. ‘Twas ever thus. The real question is: If high-speed rail has become the preferred mode of transportation everywhere else in the world, can you convince me with serious arguments that it won’t succeed here? Go ahead … give it your best shot.

    • It might be a great idea if California had the money to pay for it. It doesn’t. Plus, I’m not convinced that HSR between SF and LA would be that much faster than flying. In urban areas it would have to slow drastically down or gaspingly expensive overpasses and tunnels would need to be constructed.

      It would also help if California’s cost estimates at least attempted to be realistic and honest. But they aren’t.

      They’ve already said HSR will run at normal speeds through the San Jose corridor because of population density. This would almost certainly be true of the San Fernando Valley into downtown LA.

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