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Readers React

Don't bet on the bullet train's estimated cost

California High Speed Rail

To the editor: The Times reports that the first 29-mile segment of the bullet train through the Central Valley has 13% of the required parcels. This is likely to be the easiest portion of the route regarding land acquisition. ("Lack of land slows work on California bullet train project," Aug. 13)

The estimated cost remains at $68 billion. In comparison, the recently completed Oakland Bay Bridge project was more than $5 billion over budget and took 10 years longer than expected. The cost was supposed to be $1.3 billion.

Granted, there were some unexpected complications, but that's not unusual. Given any uncertainties that may arise, the idea that building the bullet train — a project orders of magnitude more complicated than the Bay Bridge work — will cost $68 billion is just fantasy.

I would be willing to bet the final cost will be double that. But given the current rate of progress, I doubt I will live long enough to collect on such a wager.

A.J. Briggs, Huntington Beach

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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