Contractor Says California Bullet Train Project to Start

Large-scale construction on a high-speed train linking California’s major cities will begin in June, the contractor in charge of the $68 billion project said.

“There’s no question that we’ll start on a major scale in June,” Ronald Tutor, chief executive of Tutor Perini Corp., said on a Thursday conference call about earnings. “That one is pretty much put to bed.”

The project, championed by Governor Jerry Brown to link Los Angeles with San Francisco by 2029, has drawn opposition from Republican lawmakers in California and Washington, and from farmers and other landowners unwilling to sell their property. The train will eventually extend to San Diego and Sacramento, and be able to travel at speeds over 200 miles per hour, according to the state.

Tutor, whose company has a $1 billion contract to build the initial 29 miles (47 kilometers) of the 800-mile rail line, acknowledged that some Central Valley landowners remain holdouts. He said there’s enough right of way to start in June.

Work on relocating utilities hasn’t generated much money for the Sylmar, California-based contractor, Tutor said after markets closed. Once work starts in June, the company expects “substantial cash flow,” he said.

The company’s stock closed at $22.40 in New York trading, up from $22.09 a day earlier.

California voters approved $10 billion in bonds to finance part of the project in 2008. Brown has said the remainder would come from private investors, although none has come forward.

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