California High-Speed Rail Line Faces Timing, Funding Questions

The start date is three years later than the original forecast of 2022 and the project's overall price tag has more than doubled.

A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A long-touted high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco won't be completed on time and still faces serious financing questions.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority released a business plan last month that outlined a start date for the initial segment in 2025 and a modestly lower price tag.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that start date is three years later than the original forecast of 2022 because of complicated construction needed to cross mountainous areas in Southern California.

A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)A full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The Times previously estimated that construction plans — which included dozens of deep tunnels through the mountains — could not be completed on time and within the project's budget.

The CAHRA forecast reduced projected capital costs from $67.6 billion to $64.2 billion, but the project's overall price tag has more than doubled since voters in 2008 approved $9 billion in bonding to cover one-third of its cost.

The state plans to pay $21 billion to cover the first leg, between San Jose and California's Central Valley, but that amount is dependent on projections of fees for emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dan Richard, chairman of the board that oversees the California High-Speed Rail Authority, gestures to a map showing the proposed initial construction of the bullet train in the revised business plan, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)Dan Richard, chairman of the board that oversees the California High-Speed Rail Authority, gestures to a map showing the proposed initial construction of the bullet train in the revised business plan, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The remainder of the line, meanwhile, will require billions from private investors — who would likely need to see a profit before committing — and billions more from the federal government.

Republicans that currently control Congress, however, would rather see the project scrapped altogether.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who represents part of the southern Central Valley, responded that the CAHRA is out of time and money and that "Congress won't bail it out."

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