Gov. Jerry Brown had a dream: to link Los Angeles and San Francisco by a high-speed bullet train. It would haul passengers 700 miles in two hours and 40 minutes and reduce CO2 emissions.
It entailed a proposed cost of $32 billion with an initial $10 billion bond to cover initial costs. And now the project is facing soaring cost overruns, an out-of-control budget, and missed targets.
Given this was proposed during the housing mortgage crisis of 2008, voters were promised high-wage positions and a low-cost, climate-friendly alternative to flying.
Now Brown’s trainspotting obsession has ballooned from $32 billion to $68 billion with a completion date sometime after 2025. Compare that to the First Transcontinental Railroad (1,912 miles), which took six years to complete.
To understand the scope and immense failure of the project, you only have to look at the progress made and money spent. The rail was divided up into different segments that would be tackled individually.
That way the San Joaquin Valley segment could become operational while work continued elsewhere.
But not a single rail has been laid. And the 118-mile segment’s cost has shot up nearly 50 percent to $10 billion.