Wednesday, January 25, 2012

President Obama didn't mention high-speed rail

President Obama didn't mention high-speed rail in last night's State of the Union speech, which means that he and Ray LaHood now admit that they won't get the money from Congress for the project. And the California State Auditor just issued a critical report on the project pointing out that the CHSRA can't explain why it's still counting on the federal government as its biggest source of money.

From a summary of the auditor's report:

The high-speed rail network's (program) overall financial situation has become increasingly risky.

The cost estimates for phase one increased to between $98.1 billion and $117.6 billion—of which approximately $12.5 billion has been secured. Although the Authority identifies the federal government as its largest potential funding source, the plan provides few details about how it expects to secure this money. 

The cost estimates do not include phase one's operating and maintenance costs, yet based on data in the plan these costs could total approximately $96.8 billion from 2025 through 2060. The accuracy of the Authority's estimates of the program's profits depends upon[sic] its ridership projections, which are fundamental to private investors' interest. An independent assessment of ridership projections was conducted by a handpicked group. The ridership review group presented several long-term concerns.

Thanks to the Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail for the link.

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