SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — A judge’s rulings this week ordered California’s high-speed rail to identify funding for the first 300 miles, raising one of the biggest hurdles facing the ambitious, $68 billion project: Where will the money come from to complete it?
State and federal sources so far account for less than 20 percent of the total price, and the current plan relies on vague funding from “federal, state, local and private sources.” Republicans in Congress, including House members from California, have vowed to block any additional money.
Rail officials say they are not worried. They insist that most major infrastructure projects raise money as they go, rather than providing all the funding up front. Chief Executive Jeff Morales says a new financing plan will be ready in months, not years, and that the delay will not “have any material effect on the project.”
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled Monday that the state’s current financing plan does not comply with the promises made to voters in 2008 when they approved selling $10 billion in bonds for the project. He previously said that beyond the $6 billion in state and federal funds for the first 130 miles, revenue is theoretical rather than “sources of funds reasonably expected actually to be available starting in 2015.” The current cost estimate for building the first 300 miles is $31 billion.