Thirteen years late, and three times as costly.
The first stations have yet to be built and the first track has yet to be put down, but California's ambitious high-speed rail project is already running less smoothly than predicted.
The much-ballyhooed bullet train -- that, voters were promised in 2008, would cost $33.6 billion and begin ferrying passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the matter of mere hours -- will now cost $98.5 billion, a business plan unveiled Monday revealed, and will not begin operations until 2033 at the earliest, instead of 2020, which was also promised in the bond measure voters approved in 2008.
Officials from the high-speed rail authority did not respond to requests for comment, according to the San Jose Mercury News, which was leaked a copy of the business plan on Monday. State legislators, some of whom are no friends to the project -- including representatives from districts through which the train will move without stopping -- may move to kill the project, the newspaper reported.
That is, if the train ever gets built. A full 90 percent of funding for the train system has yet to be secured, according to the newspaper, meaning that the state has to figure out how to finance an amount of money required to run the state for an entire fiscal year. "We don't have anywhere to get that kind of money," said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Southern California Republican who has led the charge against the project, according to the newspaper.
The train is so much costlier because the time required for construction is so much longer, the newspaper reported. Certain politicians will fight hard for the project, as it is guaranteed to bring construction jobs -- and its approval is needed in order to secure a $2.2 billion federal grant.