CA HSR: A Speed Too Fast?

LA to SF in 2 hrs, 40 mins? That promise in the proposition that voters approved in 2008 could be the train's undoing, as to keep that schedule it will require more expensive design, including viaducts and tunnels, than would otherwise necessitate.

"Whether the California High Speed Rail Authority can meet such a schedule is far from certain. Even some backers of the project now say it was a mistake to lock in the strict requirement.

The need for speed is driving a number of environmentally difficult and extremely expensive design choices, contributing to the doubling of the project's cost to $98.5 billion. Pricey tunnels and viaducts would enable the train to run up to 220 mph, faster than most high-speed trains travel in Europe and Asia."

The LA Times did extensive analysis and interviews with rail experts - including supporters of the project, who question whether the time schedule and speed can be met, and even if it could - at what price?

Requiring "such velocity would increase electricity use sharply, working against another mandate, that the bullet train's revenues cover operating expenses."

"The system will need up to 168 miles of elevated viaducts, more than double the distance planned in 2009. Tunneling will increase more than 60% to 52 miles."

Full Story: Bullet train's travel-time mandate adds to ballooning of costs

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