California High-Speed Rail Authority will soon have a new leader, just as cost estimates for the project’s Central Valley portion have risen by nearly $3 billion. The authority’s board announced Tuesday that Brian Kelly will take over the job starting next month. Kelly is currently the secretary of the California Transportation Agency, which oversees CalTrans, the Highway Patrol and other agencies. He’ll earn a salary of $384,000 a year.
Rising costs will be one of Kelly’s top concerns. Officials with the rail authority’s chief consultant now estimate that cost of the Central Valley portion has increased by $2.8 billion dollars. Project planners say delays and additional right of way expenses are responsible for the increase. The total cost of the Central Valley portion of the line is now estimated at $10.6 billion dollars.