California Bullet Train Now Up to $98 Billion, Completion Pushed to 2033

The other shoe dropped today on the latest cost increase for California’s bullet train:

The price of the California bullet train project jumped sharply Friday when the state rail authority announced that the cost of connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $77.3 billion and could rise as high as $98.1 billion — an uptick of at least $13 billion from estimates two years ago. The rail authority also said the earliest trains could operate on a partial system between San Francisco and Bakersfield would be 2029 — four years later than the previous projection. The full system would not begin operating until 2033.

I think that if the rail authority says the cost “could” rise to $98 billion, we can take that to the bank. This means that the new minimum estimate for the train is now $98 billion, up from $33 billion a few years ago. And there’s still no funding source for even a fraction of that. Nor is there likely to ever be unless the state legislature ponies up taxpayer dollars to build it out.

And of course, the estimates of ridership and travel time remain completely unrealistic, just as they’ve always been. Other than that, things are going swimmingly.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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