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MailTribune.com
  • California bullet train still nowhere near project start

  • The start of construction on California's bullet train — one of the nation's largest "shovel ready" public work projects that was awarded stimulus funding three years ago by the Obama administration — is slipping past already-delayed target dates.
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  • The start of construction on California's bullet train — one of the nation's largest "shovel ready" public work projects that was awarded stimulus funding three years ago by the Obama administration — is slipping past already-delayed target dates.
    Now, it appears that serious construction may not begin this year, and could be delayed into 2014.
    Factors contributing to the sluggish start include delays in getting a construction company under contract and lack of key federal permits.
    Postponing construction work raises the risk of future cost increases and suggests that state officials underestimated the challenges of the $68 billion project, according to construction experts.
    The delays are coming after repeated warnings from state watchdog agencies that the bullet train agency is understaffed and lacks the resources required to manage such a complex project.
    Ron Tutor, chief executive of Tutor Perini, the company chosen to build the first phase of the project stretching north from Fresno, said his business has considerable engineering and design work to complete.
    As of Friday, Tutor's company, which is supposed to build the initial 29 miles of the system by 2017 for $985 million, was still awaiting a formal contract from the state.
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