The agency overseeing California's high-speed rail project reportedly plans to reduce the projected cost of the bullet train by $30 billion by connecting it with existing rail lines on the outskirts of Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Critics say the revised plan would not create the system that voters were promised when they approved $9 billion in public funding four years ago to get the project started. That plan was to allow passengers to ride without any transfers between the two metropolitan centers — at a total cost of $43 billion.
Since then the price tag had soared. Cutting the cost by $30 billion reduces the price to $68.4 billion, which is still $25 billion above the original. The new plan, according to the Associated Press, would spend $2 billion to improve existing rail lines into Los Angeles and in the Bay Area.
The new plan calls for an expanded 300-mile first segment, connecting Merced in the Central Valley to the San Fernando Valley within 10 years. The earlier draft plan included only a 130-mile portion of that, from Madera to Bakersfield.
-- Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times