Union Pacific Railroad Causing Delays, Significant Cost Hikes in Bullet Train Project, Contractors Claim

A handout image provided by the California High Speed Rail Authority shows the construction of a structure of a high-speed rail that will span the San Joaquin River and the Union Pacific tracks parallel to State Route 99 on July 5, 2017 in Fresno. (Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority via Getty Images)

A handout image provided by the California High Speed Rail Authority shows the construction of a structure of a high-speed rail that will span the San Joaquin River and the Union Pacific tracks parallel to State Route 99 on July 5, 2017 in Fresno. (Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority via Getty Images)

The most ambitious rail project of California’s future is increasingly dependent on the cooperation of the very railroad that shaped the state’s past — and there are signs their relationship is growing strained.

Contractors building a 31-mile section of the high-speed rail project in the Central Valley have complained that the Union Pacific Railroad is causing delays and significant cost increases. The allegation could lead to a delay claim by the contractor against the state.

The friction involves Union Pacific’s “right of way,” the 100-foot-wide passage granted under President Abraham Lincoln, a former railroad attorney, in the 1860s as a way to develop the west.

It has remained core to the nation’s largest freight railroad: In a folksy television ad that has run periodically for half a century, employees sing, “We are the Union Pacific and we’ve got the right of way.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.