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Could High-Speed Rail Ease California’s Housing Crisis? See Japan.

A UCLA study says that bullet trains between Tokyo and Osaka helped reduce housing prices. Would that work for San Francisco and Los Angeles?
Housing is cheaper along Japan's Shinkansen, because it expands housing access for lower-income workers.
Housing is cheaper along Japan's Shinkansen, because it expands housing access for lower-income workers.Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

The future of California’s ambitious but troubled high-speed rail project is murkier than ever.

Always controversial, the California High-Speed Rail (CHSR) project, which promises to whisk passengers from Los Angeles to the Bay Area in about 2 hours and 40 minutes at speeds that hit 220 mph, has experienced cost overruns and delays since it was conceived a decade ago. When approved by California voters in 2008, the project was projected to cost $40 billion. Since then, however, the price tag has swelled to $77 billion, with some estimates going up to $100 billion. Construction is now in progress in the state’s less-populated Central Valley, and the first phase of the line, between San Jose and Bakersfield, could open by 2025, with San-Francisco-to-L.A. service beginning in 2029. Phase 2 of the project would extend service to Sacramento and Stockton in the north and San Diego to the south.