High-Speed Train Will Require High-Speed Spending

Guidelines attached to the federal funds intended to help pay for the first phase of California's bullet train will require the fastest rate of transportation construction known in U.S. history, reports Ralph Vartabedian.
May 15, 2012, 6am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The bullet train track through the Central Valley would cost $6 billion and have to be completed by September 2017, or else potentially lose some of its federal funding. It would mean spending as much as $3.5 million every calendar day, holidays and weekends included - the fastest rate of transportation construction known in U.S. history, according to industry and academic experts," writes Vartabedian.

To put that rate of spending into context, Vartabedian reports that other oft-cited examples of agreesive construction - the new Bay Bridge in Oakland and the Alameda Corridor freight rail line in Los Angeles - only managed to burn through $1.8 million per day. 

"If the rail authority runs into technical problems, legal disputes, permit delays or political roadblocks, it could end up building less track and potentially leave an uncompleted project, according to warnings contained in its own business plan. If the project blows past the federal deadline, for example, the flow of money could be stopped. And the scramble to meet that deadline could lead to construction problems and drive up costs."

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Published on Sunday, May 13, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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