An academic study has found that ridership forecasts for the California high-speed rail project is flawed and needs further work.
The analysis released Thursday by the University of California, Berkeley challenges the optimistic projections that by 2035, 41 million passengers could ride the trains every year.
UC Berkley transportation experts said certain methodology used in the forecasts are unreliable, making it impossible to predict whether the 800-mile system would be profitable.
Ridership predictions are critical to the $42-billion project because they form the basis for route selection, private investment and public funding decisions.
The CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is standing by the forecasts, calling them a "sound tool" for planning the system.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.