The US state of California is set to significantly reduce the scope of its $77.3bn high-speed rail project due to spiralling costs, delays and lack of transparency.

The scale back plans were announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom in his first State of the State Address.

According to the revised plan, the under-construction 119-mile (191km) rail link between Merced and Bakersfield within the state’s Central Valley region will be completed, while the larger project connecting San Francisco with Los Angeles (LA) will be dropped.

Governor Newsom said: “The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.

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“The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”

“Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to LA. I wish there were.

“However, we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield.”

Initially, California planned to construct a 520-mile (826.8km) high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a step to mitigate traffic congestion.

Commercial operations were due to begin by 2033 with trains travelling at a speed of 354kph, reported Reuters.

In 2008, the California voters approved around $10bn in bond proceeds to build the project. It was followed by $3.5bn of funding from the federal government in 2010.

Last year, the state announced that project costs have increased to more than $77bn and may again soar to up to $98.1bn.

According to the latest plan, building the Merced-Bakersfield section is expected to cost $10.6bn.