The headlines today and yesterday are all blaring the fact that, according to new estimates, the cost of the San Francisco-to-Anaheim high-speed rail line will now be closer to $100 billion, up from an original projection in 2008 of $43 billion. But the fact is that the new estimates call for greater phasing of the project over 20 years, and adjustments for inflation are largely responsible for the uptick. The estimates come from a new business plan from the High-Speed Rail Authority, to which California Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed two new people, which furthermore states that the rail line is still doable, but that it must include the Central California portion as proposed, between Bakersfield and Merced, and that that segment must begin construction by October 2012 to retain its federal funding.
The new estimate is $98.5 billion, adjusted for inflation, with completion in 2033.
The controversial and long-awaited rail line connecting northern and southern California in under three hours has spurred plenty of debate over the last couple of years, most notably from some San Francisco peninsula communities who have been fighting hard to keep the train out of their backyards they propose re-routing the thing over San Francisco Bay, which would require constructing a new bridge over the bay, which will clearly never happen. Also, some central California farmers have balked that the rail authority refused to consider routing the train along the Highway 99 corridor, in order to avoid taking of farmlands.