California high-speed rail to cost $98B

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A business plan being released Tuesday gives the most detailed look to date at California’s ambitious plan to link its major cities by high-speed rail, projecting the cost has ballooned to nearly $100 billion over 20 years, accounting for inflation.

The daunting figure may cause sticker shock even for the most ardent supporters of the project.

The business plan comes after Gov. Jerry Brown appointed two new members to California’s high-speed rail commission and asked them to take a hard look at the proposal and assess its viability. They concluded the project is doable, if built in phases, but the cost will be more than double the original projection.

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“The good news is the numbers are more realistic; the bad news is they may well be beyond reach,” said state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto.

A copy of the report reviewed by The Associated Press shows the estimated cost at $98.5 billion if the route between San Francisco and Anaheim is completed in 2033. The plan assumes private investment will account for roughly 20 percent of the total cost, with much of the rest coming from additional public borrowing.