The $68 billion bullet train approved by California voters in 2008 must travel at 140 mph, including stops. It must -- it's the law.
But there's no guarantee that the train can make the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco at such speeds in order to complete the trip under the required two hours, 40 minutes. There's only a promise, backed only by engineers' confidence, according to California Watch.
And that's resulted in a lawsuit filed by the Kings County Board of Supervisors, which uses a May 31 email from rail officials saying "no document exists" to back up the claim in an attempt to cut off state funding for the project.
Dan Richards, the chairman of the high speed rail authority, made the speed claim based on "verbal assertions based on skill, experience, and optimism," the news nonprofit reported.
Opponents of the project point out that Gov. Jerry Brown also sliced $30 billion from the rail project's budget, further throwing into doubt the ability of the train to cruise so quickly.
The cut funding means the train will use existing rail tracks, including some used by Caltrain, Amtrak, and other commuter trains which move much more slowly. Project opponents say that there's no way the train can make the trip in six hours, let alone under three -- which further dooms the train, as passengers will buy plane tickets rather than pay for a train slower than their cars.
Kings County also alleges that the train will destroy valuable farmland.
A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for Friday.