Land purchases could delay high-speed rail 2 years: contractor

Dragados said the state’s difficulties securing right-of-way is driving up costs

Los Angeles /
Mar.March 29, 2021 08:41 AM
The rail project had its genesis in the late 1990s but has faced numerous delays. (iStock, Getty)
The rail project had its genesis in the late 1990s but has faced numerous delays. (iStock, Getty)

A main contractor working on the California high-speed rail project informed the state of an expected two-year delay on a 65-mile section of the rail through Kings County.

Spanish construction firm Dragados pinned the delay on the state’s difficulties securing land for construction, according to the Los Angeles Times. The problems complicate projections, hiring, and coordination with subcontractors, Dragados said in a letter to the state rail authority.

The firm said that it has to hire workers as land becomes available and lay them off while it waits for the state to secure properties. The stop-and-go process creates “trepidation” among subcontractors, who charge a premium when factoring in the uncertainty of the work.

“The impact of providing a schedule which includes incorrect right-of-way dates will only exacerbate these impacts,” the letter said.

The rail project had its genesis in the late 1990s but has faced numerous delays. It is meant to eventually connect San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and cities in between at a cost of at least $77 billion.

Shortly after taking office in 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom put the larger project on hold to focus on a 160-mile section connecting Bakersfield and Merced and estimated to cost $22 billion.
Even with the larger project on hold, state officials have approved the route through L.A.

Dragados’ contract for its section of the rail was originally worth $1.3 billion but has since increased to $2.1 billion. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch


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