The initial 130-mile stretch of the system is supposed to be built in the less-inhabited Central Valley at a cost of $8.8 billion, partially funded with stimulus money.
But that would only pay for the tracks themselves, which won’t even be running high-speed trains until more of the system is built. According to the San Jose Mercury News, taxpayers would be paying to “provide a 45-minute shortcut for the 3,000 riders on Amtrak’s San Joaquin line.”
Opponents of the project have criticized the rail authority for seemingly pulling numbers out of a hat. State Sen. Doug LaMalfa noted that when the project was put before voters on the 2008 ballot, average ticket prices between San Francisco and Los Angeles were said to be $55.
Then the estimate shot up to $105. In a hearing this July, the head of the rail authority told LaMalfa that the actual cost would be $120. Yet in this Tuesday’s report, the price went back down to $81.