For some reason, when HSR deniers talk about rail projects, they tend to cherry-pick those that went over budget, like BART to SFO. The underlying reasons for that particular problem are never discussed - instead we're told that rail projects inherently soar over budget, that there's no way to stop it, that the $40 billion estimate for the entire high speed rail project is just not going to be possible.
In reality there are a lot of rail projects around the country that have been delivered on time and under budget. Seattle's Central Link light rail should open as scheduled next summer and is on budget. Here in California, the Metro Gold Line Extension to East LA is on time and under budget. From a Metro press release:
The $899 million project is ahead of schedule, under budget, and has logged 3.4 million hours of construction without a lost time injury, an unprecedented safety record for a major public works project. It should open next summer.
This is an intensive project, including an overpass above the 101 freeway downtown and a tunnel through much of East LA. Overpasses and tunnels are the most susceptible parts of a project to cost overruns, but both Seattle and LA have shown that it's quite possible - even in an era of high inflation - to build these rail projects on time and within the budget.
Still, we're likely to hear HSR deniers doing their best Dr. Evil impressions:
One hundred BILLION dollars! (h/t to Trains Are Awesome for the reference)