Costs for the high-speed rail project through the central San Joaquin Valley could be up to $3.6 billion more than estimated, according to an analysis by a federal agency that has been a supporter of California’s bullet train initiative.
The Los Angeles Times reported it had obtained a confidential report by the Federal Railroad Administration that said the 118-mile section from Shafter to Merced could cost taxpayers $9.5 billion to $10 billion, well over the original budget of $6.4 billion.
The federal agency cites delays in environmental planning and in processing invoices for grants, along with setbacks in efforts to acquire property.
The report was presented to California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1, according to the Times.
The Federal Railroad Administration has financially supported the high-speed rail project, providing $3.5 billion in two grants for the Valley segment.
Construction of portions of the Valley stretch began in 2014. The federal analysis estimates the track won’t be ready until 2024.