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Subject:  California High-Speed Rail Project Date:  12/6/2012  12:46 PM
Author:  MadCapitalist Number:  658552 of 794985

Preliminary Assessment of California's Cost Estimates and Other Challenges

"The California high-speed rail project faces many challenges. Chief among these is obtaining project funding beyond the first 130-mile construction segment. While the Authority has secured $11.5 billion from federal and state sources, it needs almost $57 billion more. Moreover, the HSIPR grant program has not received federal funding for the last 2 fiscal years, and future federal funding is uncertain. The Authority is also challenged to improve its ridership and revenue forecasts. Factors, such as limited data and information, make developing such forecasts difficult. Finally, the environmental review process and acquisition of necessary rights-of-way for construction could increase the risk of the project's falling behind schedule and increasing costs.

Why GAO Did This Study

The California high-speed rail project is the single largest recipient of federal funding from the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grant program. The 520-mile project (see map) would link San Francisco to Los Angeles at an estimated cost of $68.4 billion. Thus far, FRA has awarded $3.5 billion to the California project. The Authority has to continue to rely on significant public-sector funding, in addition to private funding, through the project's anticipated completion date in 2028. This testimony is based primarily on GAO's ongoing review of the Cal