High-Speed Rail needs billions of dollars more just to complete Central Valley segment

California will need at least another $100 billion to complete the entire project.

California’s much-maligned High-Speed Rail needs significantly more funding just to finish the Merced to Bakersfield line and another $100 billion to complete the route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. 

High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian Kelly spoke to the project’s funding woes during testimony with the State Senate Transportation Committee. 


The big picture: Kelly told legislators that High-Speed Rail needs another $4 to $7 billion just to complete the segment in the Central Valley. 

  • That’s on top of $28 billion the Authority already has on hand for that segment. 
  • The state’s initial estimate when California voters approved the project in 2008 was that the San Francisco to Anaheim route would cost $33 billion. 
  • Kelly said the Merced to Bakersfield project is expected to be completed between 2030 and 2033. 
  • Kelly told legislators that he hopes to fill that spending gap with federal funds. 
  • He added that connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles will take an additional $100 million. 

What they’re saying: “It’s been tough to fund a project with something that has an expiration date,” Kelly said. “We’re doing it in building blocks. We’re giving you the portions we think we can get done with the funding we have.”

  • Kelly added that the state could look for private equity investments to boost funding. 
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