High pas­sen­ger de­mand is a pre­con­di­tion to a suc­cess­ful HSR de­vel­op­ment.

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

– Adam Min­ter in a Bloomberg ar­ti­cle

Prob­lems dog­ging HSR projects in California and the UK – cost over­runs, con­struc­tion de­lay and rising scep­ti­cism that ben­e­fits out­weigh the draw­backs – high­light po­ten­tial speed bumps.

California’s HSR – the first in the US – in­volves build­ing a 530km line be­tween San Fran­cisco and Los An­ge­les in Phase 1 while Phase 2 will stretch from Sacra­mento to San Diego.

Launched in 2008 dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, costs were ini­tially es­ti­mated at US$30 bil­lion, soared to US$100 bil­lion be­fore con­struc­tion changes trimmed the fig­ure to US$68 bil­lion while com­ple­tion of Phase 1 will be de­layed for four years to 2033.

An­a­lysts sug­gest two ben­e­fits of HSR – cre­at­ing new em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties dur­ing con­struc­tion and con­nect­ing cheaper hous­ing ar­eas in California to Los An­ge­les and Sil­i­con Val­ley which have plenty of jobs but un­af­ford­able hous­ing.

Sim­i­larly, UK’s high-speed rail project HS2 has been be­dev­illed by rising costs. In 2012, the cost of HS2 was es­ti­mated at £32.7 bil­lion; the fig­ure has swelled to­day to £55.7 bil­lion.

Based on a 531km track, the HS2 could cost £104.8 mil­lion/km – six times higher than the

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