High Speed Rail Authorities Underestimated Costs ... Again


High Speed Rail Authority

Stop me if you've heard this one before: The California Rail Authority underestimated how much something would cost. 

This time, officials with the Rail Authority say the prices of relocating utility lines that are located beneath the 29-mile section of track has surged, from an originally estimated cost of $69 million in 2013, to more than $396 million today. 

The newly estimated the cost of relocating gas lines, sewer pipes, water mains, and communication wires is a big reason why the project's costs have risen so sharply over the last few years. Why did they miss the mark so badly? 

According to the report issued on Tuesday, the consultant who originally looked at what was needed, underestimated the amount of linear feet that had to be moved. Additionally, new utilities lines that no one even knew were in the ground were also discovered, adding to the costs. 

The company who originally worked on the estimate was not identified in the report, but the Los Angeles Times looked into regional rail authority records and discovered the regional consultant from 2013 to 2015 was the Los Angeles based Aecom. 

Utility companies like AT&T and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. were originally the ones charged with moving their lines, but the two utility companies say they were unable to meet the aggressive scheduled the rail authority set. The Rail Authority then handed everything over to Tutor Perini in February of 2017. 

For now, it remains to be seen when the work will be completed. 

Photo: Getty Images


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