"America’s first experiment with high-speed rail has become a multi-billion-dollar nightmare. Political compromises created a project so expensive that almost no one knows how it can be built as originally envisioned."
"LOS ANGELES — Building the nation’s first bullet train, which would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, was always going to be a formidable technical challenge, pushing through the steep mountains and treacherous seismic faults of Southern California with a series of long tunnels and towering viaducts.
But the design for the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure project was never based on the easiest or most direct route. Instead, the train’s path out of Los Angeles was diverted across a second mountain range to the rapidly growing suburbs of the Mojave Desert — a route whose most salient advantage appeared to be that it ran through the district of a powerful Los Angeles county supervisor.
The dogleg through the desert was only one of several times over the years when the project fell victim to political forces that have added billions of dollars in costs and called into question whether the project can ever be finished."