California’s Bullet Train Just Gets Better and Better

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California’s bullet train gets more appealing with every new business plan:

California will need to double down on support of the bullet train by digging deeper into the state’s wallet and accepting a three-year delay in completing the project’s initial leg, a new business plan for the 220-mph system shows.

….The new plan calls for completion of the entire system by 2029, one year later than under the old business plan. Once the initial system starts showing a profit, the business plan asserts, private investors would jump in with an estimated $21 billion, based on financial calculations.

….The 99-page plan and its backup technical documents again raise questions about service and speed. A sample operating schedule does not show any nonstop trains between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The fastest travel time between the cities would be 3 hours and 14 minutes, not the 2 hours and 40 minutes many people expect.

Yes, I’m sure private investors will be panting to invest, just like they’ve invested so much in iffy high-speed rail construction elsewhere in the world. They’ll be especially eager in another few years, when this project will undoubtedly be forecast to open around 2040 or so, and estimates of LA-SF travel time will be four hours. Who could say no?

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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