09 November 2008

Money Matters

The California High Speed Rail Authority released their 2008 Business Plan, giving a basic overview of the expected capital costs of upgrading the peninsula right of way to accommodate HSR and Caltrain. Construction costs are broken down on page 23. The 50-mile segment from San Francisco to San Jose is expected to cost $4.2 billion to reconstruct (plus 8% program management overhead), or $84.2 million per mile. This amounts to nearly 13% of the cost of the entire SF - Anaheim HSR project. All figures in 2008 dollars.

It is not clear how much funding the CHSRA assumes will come from Caltrain's long-planned electrification project, or how HSR will be integrated with Caltrain electrification. Caltrain's latest cost estimates amount to nearly $1.5 billion to electrify the existing tracks, without regard to HSR compatibility. This includes $785 million for electrification infrastructure, $231 million for signal and crossing improvements, $422 million for new trains, and $100 million overhead for managing the project. That all comes to $20 million per mile in construction costs.

It is also unclear how much funding the CHSRA assumes will come from San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center. This $4.2 billion project (year of expenditure) was planned independently of HSR, although it dovetails nicely with HSR. It includes a 1.3 mile extension of the tracks beyond Caltrain's current 4th & King terminal to the new Transbay Terminal in the heart of the financial district. Construction is slated to begin in 2012, with the downtown extension opening in 2018.

That's a lot of money, so I have to wonder, do all these agencies expect each other to pay for various costs?


  1. This tunnel will be one the first things to go ..or be of the last to be built..ie after HSR is in service..its SO expensive.4th and King will have to do for now

  2. Transbay Terminal doesn't dovetail nicely with anything, sadly.

    It's a complete rail operations disaster, maximizing costs while quite literally minimizing train and passenger throughput.

    So incredibly sad.

    So easy to have done right.


    Somebody should write a set of articles on what should have been (and still could be salvaged!)

    At lot of trains are going to have to terminate in San Jose, Paris of the West, at Diridon Pangalactic station, because there simply isn't the terminal capacity further north. (Hey, I have a great idea: why not run some trains to SF and some to SJ, thus balancing terminal capacity and optimizing use of open line thoughput. Somebody ought to investigate!)

  3. Hey, mi blog es su blog.

    I know you and Michael Kiesling are experts on the SF situation. Wanna write about transbay?

  4. I agree on the TBT rail plans..Its only got 3 PLATFORMS for what all the current Caltrains and 30-40 new HST arrivals?!! Even 4th and King has 6 platforms .worse yet its a deadend terminal no loop is in any drawings and if so how much more will it cost? The final coup de grace is its ugly and the trains and rail concourse are underground ..just like ugly Penn Station NYC