View Mobile Site

Report: $700M a year to repay 1st phase of high speed train

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED March 7, 2012 12:30 a.m.

SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The state will have to cough up more than $700 million a year to repay the billions required to build the first phase of a proposed high-speed train between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, a report published Tuesday said.

The new projections from California’s nonpartisan legislative analyst’s office include principal and interest on nearly $10 billion in rail bonds passed in 2008, and reflect higher borrowing rates than initially planned. The figures don’t include the millions already being paid toward $500 million in debt the project has run up.

The report detailed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times is part of a proposed vote on the hotly disputed $98.5 billion bullet-train project.

Gov. Jerry Brown is an enthusiastic supporter of what could be a legacy-making project, saying the state would spend far more on more freeways and airport runways. But critics have called the train a $98 billion boondoggle and a “train to nowhere.” Officials behind the system say despite the amount the funds would be well-spent.

“What about the economic benefits of the investment?” rail authority spokesman Lance Simmens told the Times. “Investments mean you have to spend some money, but you think you can get more back.”

In January, Republican state Sen. Doug LaMalfa and former Republican congressman George Radanovich submitted language for a statewide ballot initiative tentatively titled “Stop the $100 Billion Bullet Train to Nowhere Act.”

“The amount of bond debt service for this rail would more than offset the cuts to the University of California, California State University or Medi-Cal,” LaMalfa said. “Look at all the things that are important to this state. People want a new vote.”

A 130-mile section of track linking Fresno to Bakersfield would be the proposed project’s first phase, with plans eventually calling for service from San Diego to Sacramento.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...