California’s high speed rail project, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, will not likely be completed by its scheduled deadline of 2022 and may also go over its budget of $68 billion.
The project involves placing 36 miles of tunnels through the mountainous region of Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times. However, state officials claim that construction of the tunnels will be completed by 2022, including tracks, bridges, viaducts, high-voltage electrical systems, a maintenance plant and six stations.
“It doesn’t strike me as realistic,” James Monsees, one of the world’s top tunneling experts and an author of the federal manual on highway tunnelling, said. “Faults are notorious for causing trouble.” This was further supplemented by the fact that the route that the trains will be taking through the mountains has not been chosen by the California High Speed Rail Authority. Other tasks, like land acquisition, financing and permit approvals, are also behind schedule. While the construction was set to start in 2012, it began in July – two-and-a-half years behind schedule.
Moreover, the budget of constructing the first phase from Burbank to Merced had surpassed by as much as 31 percent to $40 billion, according to a confidential report in 2013 by the state’s main project management contractor, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Sacramento Bee reports. The report also highlighted that the cost of the overall project could increase by minimum 5 percent.
When bonds for the project were approved by California voters seven years ago, the estimate for the high speed rail project stood at $33 billion. With $68 billion, it has now more than doubled that value.
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