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January 17
1994, 4:31 a.m. - Magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake rocks Santa Clarita Valley [video]


By Matthew Renda, Courthouse News

The cost of the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project through the state’s Central Valley has soared by 35 percent to $10.6 billion, officials disclosed Tuesday.

The California High Speed Rail Authority disclosed the $2.8 billion spike during its regular Tuesday meeting, citing unanticipated costs relating to right-of-way purchases, utility relocations, general increases in railway costs and lawsuits.

“We’ve got to enhance active management of this program,” said rail authority board chair Dan Richard during Tuesday’s meeting.

Rail authority staff said that no one problem loomed large, and instead noted a long list of costs less than $50 million that eventually added up to the significant price spike to build the 119-mile segment slated to run from San Jose to Bakersfield.

One of America’s largest infrastructure projects, California’s bid for high-speed rail has been plagued by cost overruns, schedule delays and changes in executive leadership since voters passed a $10 billion bond in 2008.

When voters approved Proposition 1A, the architects of high-speed rail in the state estimated the project’s overall price tag at $40 billion. That estimate to build rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles has risen sharply in the decade since, to $67 billion.

However, officials said they are optimistic the agency can later recover a portion of the spike announced Tuesday.

Optimism also prevailed regarding the agency’s hiring of a chief executive officer, a position that has been vacant since former CEO Jeff Morales stepped down last spring.

Brian Kelly, the first California State Transportation Agency Secretary, will lead the rail authority effective February 1.

“Brian has ably led the California State Transportation Agency since its inception and is uniquely qualified to move the nation’s first high-speed rail project forward,” said Gov. Jerry Brown in a statement on Tuesday.

Rail authority officials touted Kelly’s experience running an agency with thousands of employees and an $18 billion budget as cause for optimism that he can bring a steady hand to a project and agency that is in need of stability.

“Brian Kelly is a proven problem-solver and the leading expert on California’s transportation sector,” Richard said. “He has been a dynamic transportation secretary, leading strategic approaches to modernize the state’s passenger and freight rail systems, and effectively dealing with natural disaster impacts on roads, bridges and highways.”

Kelly comes on as German rail giant Deutsche Bahn’s American arm, called D&B Engineering, begins its work on the project. The firm won a competitive bidding process last year to be the rail provider while assisting in procurement decisions, design of stations and other aspects of the pre-operation and early-operation phase.

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26 Comments

  1. Like we even need this stupid train seriously!

  2. Jimmy Stewart says:

    Shazaam! Who would of ever thought it would be out of control spending on a project like this?

  3. Mike Duryea Mike Duryea says:

    Waste of time and money. Not to mention that it’s based on lies

  4. William Reel William Reel says:

    Democrats doing their thing…

  5. Imagine what $2.8 Billion could do to help public schools, poor people, housing for the homeless, food for the hungry…you know, stuff that left wing politicians claim to care about. Funny how nobody cares about that, but it’s what happens when people like the CA AG are off on a personal vendetta against Trump and subsequently neglecting their actual job duties.

  6. Thanks “Jer”. He needs a one way ticket on his train !

  7. California elected leaders won’t pay the price for fraud

  8. Neil Arnao Neil Arnao says:

    Duh. No surprise there.

  9. We’d be better off spending the funds on an irrigation system from Oregon to SoCal, effectively ending water shortages.

  10. Is anyone actually happy about this? I mean we have a huge homeless population all over the state but let’s build a bullet train than benefits exactly three people 😡

  11. WHO voted for this ? WHO voted for Brown?

  12. Jerry brown is an idiot.

  13. John Gilbert John Gilbert says:

    Another episode of California’s Bait ‘N Switch tax polices. So as Transportation Secretary, Brian Kelly supported SB-1 for pot hole free roads without taking the money from other services. But, now as Chief Executive of the California High Speed Rail Authority , The sharp increase in projected costs could require the California High Speed Rail Authority to return to the state Legislature for a supplemental appropriation from the bonds that voters approved in 2008. The repayment of the existing ($10 Billion) bonds will cost about $18 billion in principaland interest over the next 30 years, money that is coming out of the state highway improvement fund. They sold it as Roads and Bridges, just as they oversold us a High Speed Rail direct from LA to San Francisco going up the I-5 corridor that would eleviate the congested air traffic corridor by 2030………………………………. –1 Nov 2017 PE; A poll conducted in May by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley found 58 percent opposed to SB 1, the gas tax & vehicle registration hike, with 39 percent strongly opposed. California Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly defended the higher gas tax as necessary if California wants pothole-free roads without taking money from education, health care or other services. https://www.pe.com/2017/10/30/californias-gas-tax-is-going-up-nov-1-even-if-you-dont-notice-right-away/ ) ………………………….. –1/16/18 LA Times; The California High Speed Rail Authority board also voted Tuesday to name Brian Kelly as its new chief executive. As secretary of the California Transportation Agency, he had been deeply involved in the project. Kelly said in an interview that high-speed rail remains crucial to the future transportation and economic needs of the state, but acknowledged that it is facing tough challenges that must be addressed.
    The sharp increase in projected costs could require the California High Speed Rail Authority to return to the state Legislature for a supplemental appropriation from the bonds that voters approved in 2008. The remaining bonds probably would cover the cost increases, but partly deplete funds for further construction beyond the Central Valley. Included in the projected $2.8-billion price increase is a $600-million contingency set aside to cover further unexpected problems. That contingency will be funded by unspecified cuts to future construction budgets. The challenges will apply to the next governor, though in the current campaign the leading candidates are doing their best to avoid talking about the project. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declined requests for an interview on the subject for more than two years, for example. The repayment of the existing ($8 Billion) bonds will cost about $18 billion in principaland interest over the next 30 years, money that is coming out of the state highway improvement fund. http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-cost-overrun-20180116-story.html

  14. Oh thank so much for this gift. PLEASE FEDS COME COLLECT GOV. BROWN & COLLEGES!

  15. Proof that geriatric politicians should have their heads examined! They shouldn’t be allowed to hold office if they’re over 65!

  16. Democratic Party run amok. Vote Travis Allen to Take Our State Back.

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SCV NewsBreak
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