Treasurer worried about high-speed train funding
June 28, 2011
California’s top financial official is warning that the numbers are not penciling out for the proposed controversial 800-mile bullet train system. [California Watch]
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer says that the $45 billion rail system is brimming with “unanswered questions: about construction financing and operating revenues.
The state is slated to begin the planned sale of $9.95 billion in bonds next year so that construction can begin—Lockyer wants the process delayed until key questions can be answered.
“I think the federal funding is too speculative,” Lockyer said of the project’s financial plan. “I think the likelihood of significant private capital is questionable.”
Lockyer went on to say, “I’ve been disappointed by the lack of a disciplined business plan that makes any sense, and I’m not sure the economics work out.”
The treasurer’s criticism is consistent with similar critiques made by the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state auditor and UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies
Lockyer also suggested the California High-Speed Rail Authority might have made a strategic mistake by opting not to begin construction in either the Bay Area or the Los Angeles basin.
Instead, the initial line will run between Corcoran, near Bakersfield, and Borden, near Fresno.