A train.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

How much can a train cost? According to the latest projections from the California High Speed Rail Authority, the answer is over $100 billion. In a business plan released on Tuesday, the agency raised its estimate of the cost to build a 500-mile system connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. Including the new $5 billion increase, the total is now more than three times the initial budget of $33 billion.

That ever-growing price tag reflects a mounting crisis for American infrastructure: It costs too much. While the budget was modest compared to this California rail effort, the Second Avenue subway in New York cost $4.5 billion — about twice as much as comparable projects in other parts of the world. Nor are trains the only problem. Roads, bridges, and energy projects face similar obstacles.

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