PHOTO: A rendering of a proposed California High-Speed Rail train in California's Central Valley. (photo via Flickr/NC3D)
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is determined to bring the state's ambitious bullet train project to fruition. Nonetheless, finances and politics threaten to derail the high-speed rail line that would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Bloomberg reported California sold $1.25 billion in taxable bonds Thursday in an effort to help finance the $64 billion project.
Meanwhile, construction is already underway on more than 100 miles of track in the Central Valley.
The project still faces significant hurdles. In addition to financial challenges and being years behind schedule, state Republicans aren't on board. Last month, TravelPulse's Monica Poling reported President Donald Trump delayed a $637 million grant needed to convert an existing San Francisco Bay Area light rail route from diesel to electric at the urging of California's House Republicans.
That project is a necessary component of the high-speed rail. So the delay could be an ominous sign in terms of the state receiving future federal grants.
Still, those in support of the project maintain that some federal cost estimates aren't accurate and that plans will move forward.
"California can well afford it, and it will make our state a much better place," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a February news conference. "I know we’re going up against a very red tide here of opposition. This thing is a long-term project and one way or another we’re going to get it."
A spokesperson for CHSRA recently said the project isn't reliant on future federal funding, Poling reported.
"The California high-speed program continues to make significant progress on the nation’s first high-speed rail system," rail agency spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley told the Los Angeles Times. "The first Proposition 1A bond sale is another milestone."
READ MORE: California's High-Speed Rail One Step Closer to Reality
According to Bloomberg, opponents of the high-speed rail will seek to have the Sacramento County Superior Court block the state from putting the bond sale proceeds toward the project on Wednesday. Citing bond documents distributed to investors, Bloomberg reports a successful block of funds could prompt federal officials to demand the state pay back the money it has received so far.
To this point, the project has cost approximately $3 billion, with more than two-thirds of that coming from the federal government. According to the Times, the CHSRA's budget sits at roughly $9.4 billion. However, estimates for the cost of the Central Valley portion of the project alone range from $7.6 billion to $10 billion.
If completed by 2029 like the CHSRA hopes, the rail line would connect travelers between San Francisco and Anaheim, transporting them at speeds in excess of 200 mph.