California’s high-speed rail has two new surprises in store for all of us in the cheap seats: the price of the statewide train has climbed another couple billion dollars and the government agency handling the train project has a new boss.
First the pricer news, from the LA Times:
The estimated cost of building 119 miles of bullet train track in the Central Valley has jumped to $10.6 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion from the current budget and up from about $6 billion originally.
The new calculation takes into account a number of intractable problems encountered by the state rail agency. It raises profoundly difficult questions about how the state will complete what is considered the nation’s largest infrastructure project with the existing funding sources.
The verdict on high-speed rail, now a decade after voters approved Proposition 1A, authorizing the construction of the project was eloquently summed up by Roy Hill, a lead consultant on HSR:
“The worst-case scenario has happened,” Hill bluntly told the rail authority’s board at its regular monthly meeting.
Meanwhile, former California Transportation Agency secretary Brian Kelly was tapped as the third chief executive of the High-Speed Rail Authority, succeeding Jeff Morales and Roelof van Ark.
Kelly will pull in an annual salary of $384,984, a nice pay raise from his position at the California Transportation Agency.