High-Speed Rail

J. Stephen Conn via Flickr

A majority of Californians don’t want the state’s controversial high-speed rail line, says a recent poll forUSC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times. But at the same time, over two thirds of the voters surveyed said they think the project would create jobs and help the state’s economy. And 61% said a high-speed rail line would help reduce traffic at airports and on the highways. 

California's high-speed rail gets first contractor

Apr 19, 2013

The first construction phase for California’s high-speed rail plan to link San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours has a builder. And the bid came in $200 million under expectations. 

The California High Speed Rail Authority has chosen the Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons joint venture as the winning bid for initial construction on the first 28-mile segment of the the line in California’s Central Valley between Madera and Fresno.

"Today is a significant milestone," Authority CEO Jeff Morales said in a statement. 

The bullet train may be back on track. Earlier this month the state legislature narrowly approved $8 billion dollars in bond money to start construction of the high-speed rail system connecting Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Governor Jerry Brown signed off at ceremonies in LA and San Francisco.

The project is now expected to cost close to $69 billion dollars to complete. The bulk of the money the legislature just approved will go to start building a 130-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley; about a quarter will go to local transportation projects in LA and San Francisco.

Governor Jerry Brown gave high-speed rail the official green light today, signing legislation authorizing $8 billion in initial funding for the controversial $68 billion project.

Signing ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles emphasized the political importance of the $1.9 billion allocated for improving existing commuter rail systems in these cities, the eventual “bookends” of the rail network that would connect northern and southern California.

The California State Senate today narrowly authorized funding for the nation’s biggest high-speed rail plan.

This vote authorizes initial funding for the bullet train, with construction set to begin in the Central Valley. It also provides close to $2 billion to upgrade Caltrain, and commuter rail lines in Los Angeles.

The senate vote was mostly along party lines, with Democrats supporting the plan and Republicans opposing, but several powerful Democrats crossed the aisle, including the chair of the transportation committee, Mark DeSaulnier.

(Oakland Tribune)  // A UCLA Anderson jobs forecast says unemployment in California will remain in the double digits until next year...

California’s high-speed rail project has taken a beating over the past couple of months. The price tag for building the super fast train is now expected to be almost $100 billion, more than twice what voters approved in 2008. The High-Speed Rail Authority, which is designing and planning the project, has to convince voters – and an increasingly skeptical Legislature – that funding high-speed rail is feasible.

USDOT

On a stop in Fresno today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pushed for high-speed rail in the state.

“High-speed rail in California is about helping to get the California economy moving again, to get unemployment down, to put friends and neighbors to work,” said LaHood. “And implementing high-speed rail in California will do that.”

The section of the rail line between Fresno and Bakersfield, where construction is set to begin later this year, is the only segment of the estimated $100 billion project with secured funding.

courtesy Caifornia High-Speed Rail Authority

California State Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) introduced legislation today that would put high-speed rail back on the ballot come November.

In a statement, LaMalfa said that "voters have been misled about the true costs of High-Speed Rail from the start. The costs have tripled since 2008 and every objective observer has said this project is too expensive and is unlikely to be completed.”

Frustrated by cuts to the judiciary system, some Bay Area courts are pushing for legislation that would transfer control of the system's $3 billion budget from a central bureaucracy to lawmakers and local trial judges. The California Assembly votes today on the measure...