Mon, Jun 17, 2024


California has spent $11 billion on 57 miles of completed guideway, 45 structures and investments in the state’s infrastructure, not just 1,600 feet of rail.

California’s high-speed rail project is infamous for delays and cost overruns since it was first pitched to California voters in 2008 as a $30 billion project that would be complete by 2020. Officials have since updated its price tag to $100 billion and estimate its first leg will be open to the public in 2033, the Associated Press says.

A post on X viewed more than one million times claims that the construction of California’s high-speed rail has cost $11 billion so far to build just 1,600 feet of track. Another post viewed more than one million times claims California has built “1,600 feet of high-speed rail after 9 years and 11 billion dollars.”

Both posts share an image of a single bridge that isn’t connected to anything on either side of it.

THE QUESTION

Has California built just 1,600 feet of high-speed rail?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, California has not built just 1,600 feet of high-speed rail.

WHAT WE FOUND

The pictures of the bridge in the post are real and part of the ongoing construction of California’s high-speed rail. However, the bridge, which is 1,600 feet long, is just one of many completed segments of the rail, all of which have cost $11 billion.

The 1,600 foot bridge is the Fresno River Viaduct, according to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Construction on it began in 2015 and was completed in 2018.

The bridge is just one of 45 structures and part of 57 miles of guideway, which is the track the bullet train would run on, the California High-Speed Rail Authority says it has completed as of February 2024. A page on the rail authority’s website lists 30 active and 36 completed construction projects related to the high-speed project.

Flatiron, an infrastructure construction company, announced in November 2023 it had completed its fifth construction project of the year connected to the high-speed rail project . None of those projects were connected to the 1,600 foot bridge, which is on a different section of the track worked on by other companies.

The high-speed rail’s construction is divided into a number of smaller projects, some are the construction of the track and some are moving roads to accommodate the future track, such as with overpasses or underpasses.

These projects are happening at different locations along the future track line, and not all of the completed parts are connected together yet.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority says $11.2 billion has been invested in the high-speed rail project as of June 2023. That’s the entire project, including the Fresno River Viaduct, every other structure the rail authority has worked on so far and the 57 miles of guideways. 

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johndweiner@gmail.com

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