High speed rail will be pricey, but alternatives will cost more, authority says 

The cost of high-speed rail will be pricey, but California will have to shell out even more money if the project isn’t built, according to the agency overseeing the project.

Initially, the project to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles was estimated to cost $43 billion. However, the cost projections of the first segment of the plan, to be built in the Central Valley, were recently adjusted to $10 billion to $13.9 billion — far more than the originally projected total of $7.1 billion. Earlier this month, Roelof van Ark, executive director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said the $43 billion total price tag is likely to come up as well.

Even with the rising costs, the project would still be cheaper than the alternatives, according to a new funding plan presented Thursday by the authority.

To meet the demands of California’s growing population, the state would have to invest in $90 billion to $100 billion in infrastructure projects. Those include 2,500 miles of new highway lanes, 100 additional gates at airports and four airport runways. The authority said the high-speed rail network could address the same capacity needs for considerably less.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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