SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Funding for high speed rail, which remains uncertain, could be further jeopardized by the budget deal that avoided default.

Even though construction of California’s 800-mile high speed rail project is scheduled to begin next year, a lot of questions remain. Moody’s senior economist Eduardo Martinez said that he thinks the project is a prime target for a funding cut.

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”High speed rail is not universally accepted in this country, or in California in its current form. There are a lot of concerns with cost overruns,” said Martinez. “And in the Bay Area alone there are a lot of concerns over pathways – whether it’s going to go through the Peninsula or the East Bay. So that makes it a prime target.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

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However, former high speed rail board member Rod Diridon said that cuts in the budget bill signed by the president won’t impact the project.

”The funds that came out of the stimulus program and the first year of special appropriation for high speed rail are under contract. Those can’t be cut because they’re committed by contract to local projects,” said Diridon.

Fifteen billion dollars in federal funds will be needed to completely build out the system.

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