Bullet train streaks through money

California’s high-speed rail system is still years in the making and it has already being slowed down by its own projections.

A new report released this week says that the costs for passengers will be much higher than expected, causing millions of them to not ride the rails. And the gaps in projected costs are wide enough to make state voters to wonder if they were not swayed by steam and mirrors when they went to the polls and approved it last year.

According to the business plan submitted to state lawmakers by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the cost of riding the bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles is estimated to cost $105 – which is $50 higher than projected by the agency just last year. As a result of the price hike, the authority predicts that there will be 41 million riders in 2035, a major decline from the 55 million estimated travelers last year.

And probably to no one’s surprise, the construction costs have jumped from an estimate $33 billion to $42 billion.

I don’t know what the biggest concern is – that the numbers are so far off already, or that we still have three years before the “planned’’ start of construction. At the rate it’s going, potential passengers may never catch up.

Bay Area NewsKen Garcia's BlogNews Columnists

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