No project in human experience has ever been completed on time, on budget and on spec.
This won’t come as a surprise to our faithful readers, but the latest dispatch from the California Choo-Choo front informs us that things are not going according to schedule and the budget has grown woefully inadequate to complete this projects. Ralph Vartabedian, California Still Hasn’t Bough Land For Bullet Train Route, Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2013, at p. A1. The problems:
1. The actual construction of the railroad is supposed to start in six months, in order to secure promised federal funds but so far, permits from various regulatory agencies are lacking. These include the Corps of Engineers and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “Last month, the federal Government Accountability Office reported that about 100 parcels were at risk of not being available in time for construction.” In that connection, we offer for your consideration this quote of a GAO investigator as a promising candidate for the understatement of the year: “Not having the needed right of way could cause delays as well as add to project cost.” It could indeed. Reminds us of a sign we saw once in an office of the Navy Department in Washington D.C. It said: “A collision at sea could ruin your entire day.”
2. Another feat of timing: “[T]he formal right-of-way plan indicates [the authority] does not expect to acquire the first properties until Sept. 15, despite other documents that indicate construction would start in July. Last month, the federal Government Accountability Office reported that about 100 parcels were at risk of not being available in time for construction.”
3. And to make things more interesting, last year, agricultural land prices have been rising, the average price going to $28,000 per acre, from $8000 per acre. Quoth the chief executive of the railroad authority: ”We don’t thing we are wildly off.”
If you have an interest in such matters, we suggest you read Mr. Vartabedian’s entire article — click here.