If and when California's high-speed rail network is built, it could come cheaper -- if a bit slower.
A new, cheaper plan for the rail network that promised to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours, 40 minutes was unveiled on Monday -- and the new price tag is $68 billion, down from $98 billion, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
This trick was pulled off after lawmakers told the California High Speed Rail Authority to find a cheaper way. Not only did they do that, they also said the rail network can be completed by 2029, not 2033 as originally promised. How'd they do that?
The new plan for the trains nixes ambitious construction projects for new railway lines and viaducts, and instead uses existing railway lines, according to the newspaper.
The existing rail lines service slower trains, however, and some rail advocates question if the trains can be truly high-speed without high-speed infrastructure, according to reports.
"This isn’t high-speed rail,” Quentin Kopp, a former state senator who helped create the rail authority told the newspaper. “High-speed trains have separated tracks."
A 2008 voter initiative ruled that trains must run every five to six minutes and that it must make the trip from SF to LA in less than three hours -- two hours, forty minutes to be exact. Kopp said that the new plan doesn't meet these standards.
The revisions could be approved at the rail authority's next meeting on April 12.