High Speed Rail Update Shows Spike in Costs, Drop in Ridership

 SACRAMENTO –The latest project update released today by the California High-Speed Rail Authority shows that the cost for the segment currently under-construction between Madera and an almond orchard in Shafter has gone up 27 percent since last year to $3.8 billion. That doesn’t include the cost of extending construction north to Merced and south into Bakersfield have gone up 41 percent, or $9.6 billion since last year.

The update also revealed that there is no longer enough money to build the proposed Madera to Merced and Shafter to Bakersfield sections without a massive infusion of federal funds (at least $8 billion is needed). The Biden Administration recently rejected High-Speed Rail’s $1.2 billion grant request because the project was deemed not to be cost-effective.

Important facts:

  • Merced-Bakersfield line will be delayed by as long as four years.
  • Ridership estimates are 25 percent lower than shown in the 2022 plan.
  • In 2008, voters were told that a $9 billion state investment would complete a fully operational rail line connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2020.
  • The project has spent $10 billion to date and has little to show for it.
  • With the current funding available, this project will have a single track with no trains and no stations.