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California bullet train budget hits "worst case scenario"

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File: A picture taken on August 11, 2011 show two CRH380BL bullet trains (bottom) sitting at Beijing south railway station.
Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images
File: A picture taken on August 11, 2011 show two CRH380BL bullet trains (bottom) sitting at Beijing south railway station.

The budget for California's high speed rail connecting LA and San Francisco has increased again. Is the project getting too costly for its own good?

The California bullet train is supposed to go from LA to San Francisco when it's finished. The problem is how expensive it's going to be and how to pay for it. 

New reports estimate that the 119 miles of track in the central valley will cost $10.6 billion. That's up by more than $2 billion from the current budget. WSP, the leading consultation firm on the project, said that the increase could be attributed to higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems and the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate.

James Moore, director of USC's Transportation Engineering Program, joined Take Two to discuss the budget problems of California's high-speed rail project.



"They're never going to cover all the costs. They may build the system. That, in my opinion, is the worst case scenario because it's never going to recover its cost of operations ...  Gasoline is very inexpensive. Aircraft has a large share of the short trips. There's just not enough space in between those two for high-speed rail to compete. Even if the system costs exactly what it's supposed to cost, it will never pay for itself."

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