The California bullet train project is facing $1.7 billion in cost overruns on a 119-mile segment currently under construction through the Central Valley, a 27% jump over the original estimate, according to documents recently posted on the California High-Speed Rail Authority website.
The increase reflects difficulties officials have encountered over the last five years, including buying land, moving underground utilities and negotiating agreements with freight railroads.
The Central Valley construction and planning is now projected to cost $8 billion, based on a quarterly report — known as the funding contribution plan — that was issued in June but not made public until this month. Work on the track, originally scheduled to be finished this year, is about seven years behind schedule.
“We put our best estimates forward,” rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley said Thursday. “There are going to be cost increases, but there could be cost decreases.”
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