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Phil Matier: Congress Reviews Rising Costs of Calif. High-Speed Rail

WASHINGTON (KCBS) – A House committee questioned the head of the California High-Speed Rail Authority on Thursday about the growing cost of building a rail line to connect the state’s major cities.

House Republicans have been critical of the Obama administration’s spending on high-speed rail construction nationwide, including $3 billion of stimulus money committed to the California project.

KCBS, CBS 5 and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

Public support for high-speed rail in the state has declined since voters approved $10 billion in 2008 to finance construction. A Field Poll released earlier in December found that by more than 2 – 1, California voters would like the state Legislature to call for a re-vote on the project.

“I don’t know if anything this big could get done,” said KCBS, CBS 5  and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier.

Matier said resistance throughout the state to the actual route of the tracks helped push up the price tag because the law authorizing the Rail Authority also mandates train speeds.

“You have to be able to get from San Francisco to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes,” he said, which would require 150 miles of viaducts and tunnels to guarantee those trip times.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee called Roelof van Ark, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and several members of California’s Congressional delegation, to testify.

The hearing follows a confrontation last week when the same committee grilled Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood about the viability of other rail projects around the country.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Phil Matier
  • Paul Armstrong

    It’s a loser… a ridiculously expensive boondoggle in a state crushed by massive illegal immigration and anchor citizenry that wrecked the schools, public safety, social nets, and public employee unions that are out of control, etc… that has sunk the budget too.

  • Marty

    We could use one these. Japan has it. Why not us? Should we just continue to pump more smog into the air?

    But we may need to put the California Shinkansen on hold for now. Let’s get our state back on track first before we build this.

    Here are some ideas:
    Abolish the State Income Tax
    Amend Prop 13 to work for the local governments and not the legislature
    Set a flat sales tax
    Reform the unions
    Build a 50 foot high fortified concrete wall along the Mexican border with 20 foot deep foundations
    Legalize hemp for industrial production
    Repeal Prop 8
    Abolish the death penalty since it’s a waste
    Create a health care system similar to Austria’s(combo public/private)
    Have talks with businesses about what they want in order to convince them to move here
    Lower corporate taxes, but make sure they pay what they owe(they can’t pay nothing)
    Close all loopholes

    Most of this is common sense. Why don’t we ever use it?

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