In The News

San Francisco Railroad Extension Costs A Whopping $4 Billion Per Mile

The city of San Francisco is in the process of constructing a downtown-area railroad extension that is estimated to cost in excess of $4 billion per mile of tunnel, The San Francisco Standard reported.

The extension, known as The Portal, is a tunneled rail service that would connect the Salesforce Transit Center in the city’s downtown corridor to Caltrain and future high-speed trains, according to the Standard. The project’s overall cost estimate was recently revised up from $6.5 billion to a total of $8.25 billion, which makes for a per-mile cost of over $4 billion, according to the Standard.

“[Y]ou’re seeing some whopping projected cost increases, not just for The Portal, but for other projects in the Bay Area,” John Goodwin, a spokesperson for the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which will operate the service, told the Standard.

Lily Madjus Wu, a spokesperson for the public utility company Transbay Joint Powers Authority, that will construct The Portal told the Standard that the U.S. government has been petitioned to fund half the project’s cost.

In New York City, new tunneling for Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway lines has cost between $1.5 and $3.5 billion per mile, The New York Times reported, which is, itself, seven times the average cost of subway construction in metropolitan areas around the world.

The MTC, meanwhile, has been selling merchandise about The Portal and engaging in public relations campaigns to promote its construction, according to the Standard.

The High-Speed Rail (HSR) project connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles, which would be at one end of The Portal, has itself been widely criticized for construction delays and heavy cost overruns. Despite an initial budget of $33 billion in 2008, when it was first approved by ballot proposition, the cost is currently projected to reach $128 billion in total, with the first phase of the project, connecting Merced with Bakersfield, not expected to be ready until 2030.

The city of San Francisco, has well, as been widely criticized for high levels of homelessness and crime, public sanitation issues and open-air drug use. Many businesses have reportedly exited the city as a result.

“These reported increases are based on FTA project cost and risk reviews as well as information from the project sponsors.  Similar increases are reported for major projects across the country,” an MTC spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

HSR project and the office of Democratic Mayor London Breed of San Francisco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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