News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

California bullet train budget hits "worst case scenario"




File: A picture taken on August 11, 2011 show two CRH380BL bullet trains (bottom) sitting at Beijing south railway station.
File: A picture taken on August 11, 2011 show two CRH380BL bullet trains (bottom) sitting at Beijing south railway station.
Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to story

05:11
Download this story 7.0MB

The California bullet train is supposed to go from LA to San Francisco when it's finished. The problem is how expensive it's going to be and how to pay for it. 

New reports estimate that the 119 miles of track in the central valley will cost $10.6 billion. That's up by more than $2 billion from the current budget. WSP, the leading consultation firm on the project, said that the increase could be attributed to higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems and the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate.

James Moore, director of USC's Transportation Engineering Program, joined Take Two to discuss the budget problems of California's high-speed rail project.

"They're never going to cover all the costs. They may build the system. That, in my opinion, is the worst case scenario because it's never going to recover its cost of operations ...  Gasoline is very inexpensive. Aircraft has a large share of the short trips. There's just not enough space in between those two for high-speed rail to compete. Even if the system costs exactly what it's supposed to cost, it will never pay for itself."