Letters to the Editor: Why California’s bullet train is destined to fail without a complete overhaul

Bullet train bridge
Work was stopped on bullet train bridge in Madera County in 2019 after corroded tension strands broke.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: L.A. Times reporter Ralph Vartabedian has documented the disastrous governance and lack of accountability that plague California’s bullet train project.

The root cause of this disaster is sadly obvious when one realizes that the California High-Speed Rail Authority currently has only about 150 employees and lacks a full-time chief engineer. Compare this with Caltrans, which has more than 18,000 employees and hundreds of capable engineers and project managers.

The bullet train is destined to fail without a complete overhaul. This most complex project cannot be accomplished on the cheap, and we taxpayers are suffering dearly from the layers of expensive and unaccountable private consultants.


Stay tuned to see if the authority’s interim director is correct that construction contractor Tutor Perini Corp. will pay for the cost of repairing that stalled Madera County bridge.

Christopher Rose, Los Angeles


To the editor: Halfway through this article, I had to stop awhile to regain my composure.

In 2008, as a mere lad of 67, I voted to approve the high-speed rail project. Having ridden European trains, the L.A.-to-San Francisco bullet train seemed to promise a less-expensive, faster alternative to driving or dealing with airports.

I looked forward to using the train, starting perhaps on my 77th birthday. Now, even if I’m still around at 92 or so, when that part of the project opens, the trip could take many hours more because of the added stops and shared tracks.

The project has become a boondoggle trapped in a tar pit, and it should be ended.

Brian Bland, Santa Monica