Fares inflate for high-speed rail

Ticket prices for the California high-speed rail project have already increased, even though the first train isn’t expected to depart until 2020.

The project — which plans to ferry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just more than 2½ hours — also has an increased overall price tag, according to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The decision to hike the price of the ride on the trains in the future to 83 percent of an airline ticket from San Francisco to Los Angeles is not connected with the overall cost of the project, officials said.

“We basically arbitrarily set that 50 percent ticket price when we first started,” said Rod Diridon, a board member with the High-Speed Rail Authority. “Our research tells us that price is artificially low, and that a 75 to 80 percent rate of airplane flights is more widely used. So, we felt an increase in fares was appropriate.”

The new price would set the train fare from Los Angeles to San Francisco at $105 in 2009 dollars, according to the rail authority. It compares that price to $125 for air travel and $118 to drive.

The new cost for the total project — originally projected at $33.6 billion in 2008 — has been revised to $42.6 billion to adjust for inflation, according to the authority.

CHSRA officials have devised a funding plan that is expected to manage the larger budget.

“We’ve got the funding to cover the costs of this project right now, but the biggest danger is scheduling setbacks,” Diridon said. “With a project like this, a year delay could cost an extra $2 billion to $3 billion.”

With the environmental review process slated to start in 2011, Diridon said the project remains on schedule. Portions of the service are expected to open by 2017, and the full route from Los Angeles to San Francisco is expected to open by 2020.

On track for completion

The California High-Speed Rail Authority — the agency in charge of the state’s rail project — says it has identified the funding it needs to build the $42.6 billion system.

CHSRA Funding Breakdown:

Source/Amount
Proposition 1A (voter-approved bond measure)  $9 billion
Federal funding  $17 billion-$19 billion
Local funding  $4 billion-$5 billion
Private investment  $10 billion-$12 billion

Source: CHSRA

 

Train timeline

2011 Completion of environmental reviews

2012 Construction starts

2017 Portions of service open

2020 Los Angeles to San Francisco section opens

Source: CHSRA

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsHigh speed railLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Traffic on 19th Avenue. (Photo courtesy Shutterstock)
Construction on 19th Avenue to begin Monday, traffic delays expected

Officials encourage drivers to take alternate routes, factor in longer travel times

Those who stick around San Francisco on long holiday weekends can enjoy a slower pace, uncrowded streets and beloved institutions like cable cars. <ins>(Kevin Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
These empty San Francisco streets: A holiday dream

We’re here because we can be, and because we have nowhere else to be

Quarterback Nick Mullens is expected to get his third straight start Sunday. Mullens is 46 of 73 for 538 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in his other two starts this season. <ins>(Chris Victorio / Special to S.F. Examiner).</ins>
49ers trying to turn season around in Sunday’s prime-time faceoff with the Rams

49ers at Rams When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. Where: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood TV:… Continue reading

Psilocybin magic mushrooms (Shutterstock)
‘Magic mushrooms’ moving into the mainstream

Efforts to decriminalize psychedelics could follow several different paths

The 2020 Census has concluded taking responses sooner than expected. (Courtesy photo)
What does California have to lose if undocumented immigrants are excluded from the census?

By Kim Bojórquez The Sacramento Bee If The U.S. Supreme Court rules… Continue reading

Most Read