Story at a glance
- The price of California’s long-awaited high-speed railway has risen again.
- The price of the project, which was first discussed in the 1980s, is now estimated to be $105 billion.
- The new price is $ 5 billion more than what officials said it would be two years ago.
The cost of constructing California’s long-delayed high speed rail line has risen again.
Now, the line could cost up to $105 billion to finish, $5 billion more than what rail officials said construction would cost two years ago, according to the Associated Press.
The increase stems, in part, from new commitments to minimize community disruption like creating better noise barriers and moving train tracks farther away from the Cesar E. Chavel National Monument outside of Bakersfield, the outlet added.
The price for the 220 mile high-speed rail system has gone up numerous times since Californians voted to approve roughly $10 billion in bonds for the project in 2008. Back then rail officials said the total price of constructing the rail system which, upon completion, will connect six of the state’s 10 largest cities would be $42 billion, according to SF Gate.
Construction has started on the portion of the railway that runs through the Central Valley, but according to the AP, no track has been laid yet.
Progress on the railway has been long-delayed amid concerns over the project from cities, counties and utilities.
So far, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has gotten environmental clearance for 300 miles of the yet-to-be constructed railway and hopes to receive clearance for 430 miles of the 500 miles needed for Phase 1 one of the system by July, according to the project’s recently released updated business plan.
Officials are supposed to release a business plan on the railway every two years but the 2020 business plan was released a year late due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s plan states.
Phase 1 of the railway would run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in less than three hours and cover 520 miles while Phase 2 refers to future plans to extend the line to Sacramento and San Diego, according to the California High-Speed Railway Authority’s website.
High-speed train travel tends to be more environmentally friendly than car or plane travel. Bullet trains have been shown to “improve quality of life, reduce air pollution and traffic congestion,” according to Yale Environment 360.
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