High-speed rail trains won't get passengers to their destinations as quickly as promised according to a new report from a non-profit research group.
The Reason Foundation also says it will attract fewer riders than projected, leading to potential losses of hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Voters were promised a travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes from Los Angeles to San Francisco when they passed a $9 billion high-speed rail bond measure in 2008.
However, the new report claims the fastest non-stop trip will take nearly four hours, due in large part to those trains having to share track with slower trains.
The report projects that enough people will be turned off by the lag time that just 7 1/2 million riders will use the trains by the year 2035... well short of the 20 to 30 million passengers the Rail Authority is predicting.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, a Republican representing the 23rd Assembly District said, "This report demonstrates the kinds of concerns we've had all along. This is going to be subsidized for as far out as the eye can see. This is a bad finance plan, it's a bad business plan, and I think this report demonstrates it."
The rail line is now projected to cost $68 billion. The report says that is a risky investment because low ridership numbers will lead to losses of up to $373 million a year, money which would have to be covered by taxpayers.
The Rail Authority responded to the Reason Foundation's report by saying in an audit last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued high marks and found the Rail Authority's ridership and revenue estimates to be reasonable.
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