How a visionary entrepreneur watered and powered Los Angeles
THE GRANGER COLLECTION, NYC
Henry Huntington’s Big Creek Hydroelectric Project presented incredible logistical, financial, and technological challenges.
These days, the few major infrastructure projects that California undertakes routinely run behind schedule and over budget. Seventeen years after the establishment of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, not a foot of track has been laid, thanks to lawsuits over eminent domain, environmental concerns, and labor practices. The official price tag of the proposed rail system reads $68.4 billion, but most observers, remembering the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge’s massive cost overruns, expect the bill to top $100 billion. It’s essentially the same story with the state’s effort to restore the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. After decades of bickering and delays, Governor Jerry Brown is pushing a $24.5 billion plan to flood the delta (in order to preserve some 50 threatened or endangered species) and to build tunnels underneath it to ensure that Central Valley farmers and homeowners continue getting northern California water.