High-speed rail dependent on $55 billion in federal funds

From California Watch:

Although planners of California’s bullet train won praise last week for candor about the train’s cost, an analysis of their 230-page plan shows they are still making highly speculative assumptions about funding and ridership.

Despite hostility toward the project from Republicans in Congress, the California High-Speed Rail Authority expects to receive $55 billion in federal grants – including $13 billion in the next 10 years.

The planners are also counting on Congress to approve a new form of infrastructure bonds – and to get 27 percent, or $13 billion, of all those bonds issued nationwide.

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High Speed Financial Train Wreck


From CalWatchdog:

The news that the California High-Speed Rail Authority finallyrevealed its long-awaited business plan only made the state’s residents more suspicious of the monster rail system. With a $99 billion price tag, a 300 percent cost increase since the 2008 voter-approved measure, and a claim of more than 1 million jobs created, High-Speed Rail appears to be taking over as the WPA project of California’s future.

But many say that $99 million is not the final figure. The the plan, originally billed as a $9.9 billion bond measure for a $40 billion train system, now has unlimited borrowing and spending, as well as a yearly $5.3 billion cost for upkeep.

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Rail plan splits GOP leaders; Huff is for it, Dutton opposed

From the Daily Bulletin:

From boondoggle to significant?

The man who many believe will be the next Republican leader in the state Senate has a completely different viewpoint on the state’s proposed high-speed rail plan than the current holder of that position.

Sen. Bob Huff, R-Walnut, sees the plan as critical to improving the California economy. The man he may replace as GOP leader, Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, sees the San Francisco-to-Anaheim line as simply a waste of money.

Dutton’s opposition didn’t change this week following the release of a business plan that gave a detailed look at the project and pegged its cost at nearly $100 billion over 20 years.

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High-Speed Rail Board Votes to Seek $2.7 Billion of State Bond Money

From Voice of OC:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority board voted unanimously Thursday to seek the Legislature’s permission to use $2.7 billion in state bond money to help start construction of the planned $98.5-billion train system.

The 6-0 vote came after more than two hours of public testimony in Sacramento from dozens of critics of the troubled plan, which would connect Anaheim and San Francisco with 220-mph bullet trains. The board voted without discussion.

The Rail Authority needs the state funds to qualify for $3.3 billion in federal stimulus money that can’t be spent unless most of it is matched. The plan is to start construction in mid-to-late 2012 in the Central Valley.

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