California high-speed rail advocates are already backpedalling on the numbers, and from experience with other such projects, it will only get worse.
In the face of the state's perpetual budget crisis, some Californians are beginning to regret their votes in favor of the $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond last year. Even though proponents of the train have now admitted the bond was only a down payment on the actual cost to build the system, the numbers that were projected are changing"”and all in the wrong direction.
The business plan released by the train's advocates last month show the dramatic differences in what the voters were told and what reality is. For example, the price of a ticket from San Francisco to Los Angeles is now projected at $105, up from the previous $55 estimate. That new number changed the ridership predictions: now 41 million annual riders by 2035, down from last year's prediction of 55 million passengers by 2030. The cost for building the train system has also grown. The proponents had been thinking $33.6 billion (2008 dollars) but have revised upward to $42.6 billion. Recently, the Obama administration announced $2.25 billion in funding for the project. Proponents said federal money would be used to close the gap between the voter-approved bond and the ultimate cost, but
this is a drop in the bucket and still will not work.
Do not expect a true LA to SF high speed rail line for less than $75 billion and the ridership numbers are still absurd, as discussed here. By the way, Southwest's advanced fair from LAX to SFO is $114 right now. If you are willing to go Burbank to Oakland, the fair is $90.