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Old Posted Apr 12, 2010, 4:17 PM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: San Francisco & Tucson
Posts: 24,088
State's high-speed rail plan is up in the air
Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross
Monday, April 12, 2010

Is it a high-speed rail ride to the future or a Bay Bridge boondoggle times 10? That's what lawmakers are wondering as more and more questions arise about the plan to build a multibillion-dollar bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"I'm all for high-speed rail, but I want it to be high-speed rail done right," says state Sen. Joe Simitian.

Simitian has plenty of reasons to be concerned. Not only will the rail line go right through his Peninsula district, but also he chairs the Senate budget subcommittee that oversees the $9 billion in voter-approved bonds for the project.

In addition to worries about how many backyards will be torn up for the line, he and other key legislators are asking question's about the High Speed Rail Authority's business plan - which remains murky at best.

For example, no sooner had voters approved the bond package than the initial $33.6 billion price estimate jumped to $42.6 billion because the authority had failed to account for inflation. And that cost could climb even higher if the rail goes underground through the Peninsula, as many communities are now requesting.

Then there is the estimated ticket price for a trip from L.A. to San Francisco, which has jumped to $105 one way - making the line much less competitive with the price of an airline ticket.

There are also questions being raised about the bullet train's ridership projections . . . .

Lot of second guessing going on.
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