OAKLAND (KCBS) – California’s controversial high-speed rail project, which lost congressional and legislative support after costs skyrocketed, still has the support of the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

LaHood was unabashed in his support of the state’s high-speed rail plans during an appearance Tuesday in Oakland, despite the fact that the price tag for the 520-mile line has jumped to between $60 billion and $80 billion.

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KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

”I just had a very long meeting with the governor about high-speed rail,” said LaHood. “I answered a lot of his questions and I believe that we’re on a good track here in California for high-speed rail. We are not going to be dissuaded by a little background noise of criticism.”

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Critics say the project is in danger of runaway costs at a time when tax dollars are scarce.

Supporters claim the proposed route between San Francisco and Anaheim will create thousands of jobs and be cheaper in the long run than adding freeways, noting the project’s new price tag is the result of changes in track design as concessions to local authorities.

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