HSR Overrun

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HSR Overrun

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:14 am

From the Los Angeles Times

California bullet train cost surges by $2.8 billion: 'Worst-case scenario has happened'


Fair use:
By RALPH VARTABEDIAN

The new estimate was presented Tuesday by Roy Hill, who leads the main consulting firm on the project, WSP (formerly Parson Brinckerhoff). Hill said the cost increases were mainly driven by problems including higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems, the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate near freight lines and demands by stakeholders for the mitigation of myriad issues
"The worst-case scenario has happened," Hill bluntly told the rail authority's board at its regular monthly meeting.
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby lpetrich » Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:17 am

California HS costs soar as completion date pushed back has some details. Here are the CHSRA's business plan's projected numbers:
  • Environmental reviews for all Phase 1 segments: done by 2022
  • Central Valley segment (active construction): $7.88B to $10.6B, done by 2022
  • Silicon Valley to Central Valley: $7B to $27.8B, SV-CV opening date orig. 2025, now 2029
  • San Francisco, Bakersfield: $1.98B
  • Phase 1 Total: $64.2B to $77.3B and maybe $98.1B, opening date 2033
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby BandA » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:17 pm

Once upon a time there was a project in Boston to replace I-93. The project manager was Bectel Parsons Brinkerhoff. The project cost went from <$1B to about $20B. Four governors and politicians adjusted budgets, covered up and even lied to keep the project alive. The state even agreed to cap the federal matching funds to get John McCain's committee off of their back. Bechtel Parsons Brinkerhoff only got a slap on the wrist. Defective concrete was poured, warnings were ignored, incorrect epoxy was used leading to 1 death. Maintenance costs have been and will be higher than plan and features will have shorter than planned lifespans.

The correkt response in such a case is to cancel the project or fire the project manager, and fire state managers. I don't know the details of CA but all options should be on the table.

From the same article http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-cost-overrun-20180116-story.html
The sobering news about the cost increases was long forewarnedhttp://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-cost-final-20151025-story.html, though rail authority Chairman Dan Richard has consistently rejected those warnings. About a year ago, the Federal Railroad Administration issued a secret risk analysis that said costs were rising sharply and could hit $9.5 to $10 billion.


So the FRA knew a year ago but covered up. Unacceptable.
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby lensovet » Tue Mar 20, 2018 2:21 am

A fair amount of the increased cost appears to have to do with the litigation and buyout costs for ROW under eminent domain. The cost of land has been going up all around California and the HSR project is not immune to this. This is partly why as time goes on these costs keep growing. Land acquisition delays are 12% alone; land purchase costs another 14% (presumably these were expected to be free earlier?). 21% is not a real cost increase, but rather a contingency that they are budgeting in now to take care of future increases. add those up and you've already accounted for half of the cost overruns. i'm not sure why the intrusion barriers weren't accounted for earlier but would not be surprised if they had hoped they would be able to negotiate that away from UPRR and ultimately not getting it.
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby electricron » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:42 am

lensovet wrote:A fair amount of the increased cost appears to have to do with the litigation and buyout costs for ROW under eminent domain. The cost of land has been going up all around California and the HSR project is not immune to this. This is partly why as time goes on these costs keep growing. Land acquisition delays are 12% alone; land purchase costs another 14% (presumably these were expected to be free earlier?). 21% is not a real cost increase, but rather a contingency that they are budgeting in now to take care of future increases. add those up and you've already accounted for half of the cost overruns. i'm not sure why the intrusion barriers weren't accounted for earlier but would not be surprised if they had hoped they would be able to negotiate that away from UPRR and ultimately not getting it.


Unexpected, unplanned, and underestimated costs usually results in cost overruns. Every construction project faces and experiences some or all of these setbacks. How well these setbacks are handled and the resulting cost overruns are reduced determines how well any project is being managed. So far, I give the CHSR management team a failing grade.

Superior construction management teams deliver construction projects "On time and within budget". Sadly the CHSR team isn't one of them.

But, with the highly expensive tunneling in the mountain passes yet to come, there's plenty of opportunities to find ways to make amends for their early failing performance. Dozens of billions of dollars could be saved with the tunnels. Should we hope for better results in the future or should we expect more of the same poor performance?
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby lensovet » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:51 am

the central valley has a number of big political players who are very interested in seeing this project fail. they have no problem putting up unreasonably strong fights against property acquisition and then turn around and say that the cost overruns — caused by their own intransigence and desire to extract the highest price for their property even if it exceeds market values — mean that the authority is doing a bad job and the entire project should be abandoned.
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby electricron » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:02 am

lensovet wrote:the central valley has a number of big political players who are very interested in seeing this project fail. they have no problem putting up unreasonably strong fights against property acquisition and then turn around and say that the cost overruns — caused by their own intransigence and desire to extract the highest price for their property even if it exceeds market values — mean that the authority is doing a bad job and the entire project should be abandoned.

CHSR has eminent domain powers, or qualifies for it. They don’t have to pay exorbant prices for any property, these legal powers give them the authority to only pay fair market prices. If they are paying exorbant prices, that just reinforces my opinion that they have been poorly managed.

Every large public infrastructure project faces the same obstacles of pigs feeding at the bottomless public feeding trout. Great project managers can get their projects done on time and under budget even in California, poor managers don’t!

So we’re left with two possibilities for 200% cost overruns, (a) poor management and (b) severely understated estimated costs (a huge lie).
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:32 pm

Most of the San Joaquin Valley is Farm land and needs massive amounts of water to grow foodstuffs for most of the year.
The HSR ROW is taking land that produced food and profits for the local farmers in the valley,so hopefully the farmers that give up land for
the ROW are getting a fair market price for the land.
IF the local political critters are meddling in the land buying process,hopefully some investigative news media reporter is snooping around. :wink:
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Mar 24, 2018 5:35 pm

Eminent domain does allow takings at market value, but the court sets the market value after extensive investigation and often multiple hearings. CAHSR can either fight a long, slow court battle with landowners invested in slowing or stalling this project, with the probability that after several months the court will set a high land value based on the landowners’ best-case-scenarios, or paying a higher value for the land and moving forward at a faster rate.
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby lensovet » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:15 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Eminent domain does allow takings at market value, but the court sets the market value after extensive investigation and often multiple hearings. CAHSR can either fight a long, slow court battle with landowners invested in slowing or stalling this project, with the probability that after several months the court will set a high land value based on the landowners’ best-case-scenarios, or paying a higher value for the land and moving forward at a faster rate.

yep, exactly this.
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Re: HSR Overrun

Postby BandA » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:35 am

If they are taking farm land with water rights, those water rights should be very valuable, probably representing much of the value of the land. They could sell the water rights to the water district, or back to the farmer. The farmer probably doesn't have enough water/water rights to irrigate all their farmland, so they may end up with little or no impact to their crops and $$$ in their pocket.

In eminent domain, if they want to, the authority can take the property now & worry about the cost & litigation later.
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