Newsom’s shorter California bullet train plan likely to run out of money before completion

The California bullet train project will probably run out of money before it can fulfill Gov. Gavin Newsom’s modest plan to build a high-speed operating segment between Bakersfield and Merced, according to a Times analysis of the state rail authority’s financial records.

The governor declared his support for the scaled-back rail plan last month, saying that for the foreseeable future the original goal of a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco system would cost too much and had no path forward. Instead, Newsom said, the state did have the “capacity” to build a 171-mile route through the almond orchards, orange groves, vineyards and oil fields of the Central Valley.

But the project faces many challenges, including an investigation by the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation that has been looking at allegations of poorly controlled or improper spending by the California High-Speed Rail Authority in the Central Valley, according to individuals familiar with the probe.

The biggest problem, however, remains a limited pool of money for the complex project.

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