It’s way over budget. Try to act surprised.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s new cost estimates released Tuesday show the initial stretch of construction between Merced and Bakersfield will cost $10 billion to $13.9 billion depending on how it’s built. Project planners had previously pegged the sectionat $6.8 billion.And this is the part that they’re building first because it’s so cheap–not a lot of expensive real estate (or angry, politically powerful neighbors in the way). The Mercury News says that if the whole project’s costs blow up the way the first leg has, the whole project will cost somewhere between $63 and $87 billion. But why expect the increase will be proportional? Of course, it might well be lower–but the later legs are going to be the ones where there’s a lot of expensive infrastructure, and time-consuming community resistance–standing between the builders, and completion.