More overruns for high speed rail

After the High Speed Rail Authority projected another $1.8-billion increase for the HSR project — taking the total expenditure to $12.4 billion — Assemblyman Vince Fong is speaking up once again on the project, which now covers only a small area in the Central Valley.

“This report reconfirms what I have said before — the High Speed Rail project needs to be scrapped entirely because it will continue to be plagued with cost overruns, delays, and management failures,” said Fong.

Earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged the problems with former Gov. Jerry Brown’s bullet train concept, which had drawn criticism for mounting costs, no identifiable ridership, lack of sustainable revenue sources and even corrupt contracting processes.

Newsom initially drew support from HSR critics, but that tenuous alliance seemed to dissipate once Newsom declined to pull the plug on the project, allowing the state to commit resources to the rail.

“The governor cannot overlook these structural problems with rhetoric. We need to deal with reality,” said Fong.

“Again and again, every new report continues to show major cost overruns, and taxpayers … are being asked to pay more and in return they are getting a conventional slower train that does not resemble what was told to voters in 2008.

“The bottom line is that we need to either scrap this project entirely or give voters a chance to re-vote on this failed project.”

The full project update can be seen at www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/ about/legislative_affairs/SB1029_Project_Update_Report_050119.pdf.

Story First Published: 2019-05-10