“Our fastest train is the tram that goes around the zoo.” We the people need to decide the issue of whether we should complete the high speed rail program program or divide the project into regional rail authorities. 

Even Governor Newson is not committed to project but is continuing it because it was approved by the People and only the People can unapprove it. Governor Newsom has publicly recruited the plans for the overall project in 2019 stating  


Gavin Newsom further showed his lack of support in his budget summary when he did not give one dollar in the state surplus to the HSR. 

 The Mercury News stated its article CA: High-speed rail misses out on California’s massive budget surplus  

The $4.2 billion included in the updated budget to build the first segment of its system in the  Central Valley does not represent new state funding for the project. While the May budget  revision Newsom rolled out on Friday calls for giving the California High Speed Rail Authority  $4.2 billion to build the first segment of its system in the Central Valley, that proposal does not  represent new state funding for the project. Instead, the money would come out of the bond  voters approved in 2008 to start the high-speed rail system that promised to eventually take  riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles, tapping funds that were already raised to pay for the  project. That differs from a proposal several leaders of the state Legislature have made to divert  the bond money to other local public transit projects, which they argue would provide more  immediate benefits. Still, even with a surplus of more than $100 billion to spread around the  state, Newsom notably chose not make any new commitments to the high-speed rail project,  which will need to come up with tens of billions of dollars if it’s ever going reach the Bay Area  or Los Angeles.” 

It is becoming clear that the funding of the HSR is a California problem alone. While the Biden $2 Trillion infrastructure plan calls for $80 Billion for nationally and intercity rails projects. there was no mention in the plan for high speed rails. Even some of the funds go to HSR, California’s share would not cover the major part of its HST cost. Californians would still have to pay the majority of the cost directly first through taxes and bonds and then through subsidies as the current estimates are that ridership will not cover expenses of operation. 

 A youtube video What Went Wrong With California’s High-Speed Railway gives a good history of the project and its problems. The entire project is to be almost 800 miles in length. It took 6 years to complete the TransAmerica Railroad when it was built entirely by hand. In the 13 years of the HSR project the first phase of 118 miles using modern equipment has not been completed and is estimated not to be completed until 2029, nearly 21 years after approval and almost 4 times longer that the hand built Trans America rail line and that is just 118 miles out of 800 miles to be built. 

The mismanagement is so bad that in Kings County where construction is ongoing, there are 64 parcels of land still not purchased. This land should have been bought in 2008 when its was cheaper. The environment review for the construction has not been completed and it is unknown if it will even pass hence the name Train for Nowhere being given locally to the project. In one instance according to the LA Times one contractor promised to save $300 million with some changes. Instead it cost $800 million more in overruns and most of those changes were ultimately mainly scrapped. 

The high speed rail line is no longer really high speed. The Indepdent Institute, awarded the Hi Speed rail, the Golden fleece Award over its operation for the hsr project. 

“Public outrage over the $98 billion price tag prompted train officials to abandon the original  plan of building dedicated tracks in urban areas. Instead, officials shifted to blended tracks in  urban areas: the bullet train would share tracks with the existing Metrolink commuter network  in Southern California and the Caltrain system in Northern California. But the blended approach increases trip time considerably from what was promised to voters. 

Voters in 2008 were told the high-speed train would whisk travelers from San Francisco  to Los Angeles in a “maximum nonstop service travel time” that “shall not exceed” 2 hours and  40 minutes. This specific trip time was often mentioned by supporters to sell the bond measure  to voters. But with the blended approach, the fastest time between these cities is now  

ESTIMATED by the CHSRA to be 3 hours and 8 minutes, with zero nonstop trips planned—

another violation of Proposition 1A. But more realistic trip times are EXPECTED to be 3 hours  and 50 minutes, or more, under real-world travel conditions.” 

The trip between Sf and LA was originally supposed to be a little under 3 hours. Now, with the route changes using blended tracks, the trip is expected to be closer to 4 hours. When the time is added for getting a rental car or grabbing a cab, along with overall loss of convenience, the one hour or so of saved time loses its significance.


The latest estimated cost of the HSR is 100 and $125 billion that is four times what the price was going to be when the People voted to approve the project in 2008.That cost is again just an estimate. The first phase was to have been completed by 2023 and now it is hoped to be completed in 2029 

The first question is whether it is now too expensive to build when there are many other pressing and urgent rail uses to which the funds can be applied? Has the HSR line just become another example of government waste and corruption to the detriment of the taxpayers? 


On July 1, 2020, the CITIZENS AGAINST GOVERNMENT WASTE stated in its article California’s 100 Billion Nightmare High Speed Rail Project stated that on its opinion the project will not accomplish its goal of getting people to use it instead of cars or air travel. Using the Bay Area as its own model, it concluded that the ridership will be a dismal financial failure and that significant subsidies will be required to keep the system working.  

“,,,there is simply no chance that ridership fees alone will be able to cover CHSRA’s operating  costs. When government-funded mass transit projects are unable to sustainably finance  themselves, state and local governments are forced to raise taxes to close the fiscal gap. The  Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)’s budget statements from 2016–2019 offer a glimpse into the  future of the CHSRA high-speed rail project and the impact it will have on the taxpayers.

In 2016, BART’s average weekday ridership (AWR) peaked at 443,000.  Ridership  steadily declined each subsequent year, dropping to 404,900 AWRs in 2019.  Despite servicing  nearly half a million Bay Area residents every day, BART’s fare recovery rate fell below its  operating expenses. In 2019, operating expenses were $767.8 million, with only 63 percent  covered by passenger fares. The remainder of BART’s operating expenses drew $264.6 million  from sales taxes, $46.8 million from property taxes, and $59.9 million in financial assistance  from state assistance programs. BART’s reliance on the taxpayers serves as a cautionary tale  for the MB line along with the rest of the high-speed rail project.” 

When the CHSRA inevitably fails to recover its operating expenses, taxpayers will be called  upon to finance the difference. Higher sales and property taxes are already in the forecast  shortly after the rail line begins operating. Until then, state bonds and federal grants will  continue stoking this pork project’s fiscal firebox with the taxpayer’s money. 

 In the same vein, The CITY JOURNAL in its Feb 25, 2021 stated in LOW SPARK OF HIGH SPEED RAIL:  

“ The original projection has proved far too optimistic. Cost estimates have bounced around  since 2008, landing at various times at $64 billion, $77 billion, $98 billion, and $117 billion  before settling, for now, at $100 billion for a scaled-back version that links Los Angeles and San Francisco. That’s $20 billion more than the price tag of a year ago when Governor Gavin  Newsom, in one of the political understatements of the year, said that “the current project, as  planned, would cost too much and take too long.  


Yet even Newsom’s revised plan has hit snags. At roughly the same time that the governor  acknowledged the obvious, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) reviewed the  2020 business plan, finding that its near- and long-term schedules “” and identifying “some  near- and long-term funding challenges confronting the project.” The train’s ridership is now  predicted to be so light that operating subsidies will be needed “to cover its day-to-day financial losses.” As the LAO pointed out, the train’s need for subsidies “does not appear to be consistent  with the spirit of” Proposition 1A. Initially, passengers, “rather than the general public,” were  expected to “pay for the full cost of its ongoing operations and maintenance.”


 The SF Chronicle in its June 16, 2021 article California high-speed rail’s latest threat: L.A. wants to spend money locally stated regarding the HSR: 

“The project has faced ridicule over repeated construction delays and soaring construction costs, with its budget growing from $33 billion to about $83 Billion. Trains were initially supposed to start running last year. Now, the Rail Authority doesn’t anticipate the Central Valley segment will start operating until 2029, followed by the longer line in 2033. 

The continued uncertainty about the rail project has fueled resistance at the Capitol. Members of the powerful Los Angeles delegation, led by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, argue regions with the most transit riders should take priority for state spending. 

“The speaker has been supportive of focusing high-speed rail funding in areas where it will  meet the greatest need, including the Bay Area and Los Angeles,’ Rendon’s spokesperson said  in an email. 

During a hearing on the Rail Authority’s business plan in March, Assembly members grilled rail executives about their strategy. They pushed, unsuccessfully, for the authority to consider alternative routes. 

“I worry that insufficient funding could leave us with infrastructure that doesn’t accomplish the  vision of high-speed rail, and doesn’t benefit Southern California,” Assembly Member Luz  Rivas, D-Arleta (Los Angeles County), told rail officials.