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California high speed rail plan revised

Posted in USA on 2018-03-14 11:52:46

California High-Speed Rail Authority has published for public consultation a draft 2018 business plan which ‘acknowledges and responds to changed circumstances and emphasises a new way of doing business moving forward’.

SACRAMENTO -- Nearly five years after Peninsula towns first sued to block California's high-speed train from coming up the Caltrain corridor, a judge has finally dismissed the case in a long-awaited victory for bullet train backers.

The ruling released Thursday means the state finally proved that it was legally correct in December 2007 when it decided to send its planned $69 billion high-speed rail network up the Pacheco Pass from the Central Valley, zipping bullet trains from San Jose to San Francisco. An alternative plan that environmentalists and some Peninsula cities preferred would have sent the trains up a longer East Bay route through the Altamont Pass.

It gives the California High-Speed Rail Authority a sigh of relief as it heads toward a groundbreaking on the controversial project in the Central Valley as soon as July.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has a serious public-relations hurdle: how to sell its proposed Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bullet train without the word “boondoggle” attached.

But the rail authority’s latest compromise plan to solve this problem -- with its focus on building the system in a “better, faster, cheaper” manner -- not only doesn’t fix the system’s fundamental flaws, it may plant the seeds of its destruction.

In November 2008, California voters -- notorious for approving huge spending projects, regardless of the state’s budget problems -- approved Proposition 1A, which earmarked almost $10 billion in general-obligation bonds to build a comprehensive rail system whose cost was estimated at the time at $35 billion to $42 billion.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - (AP) -- Supporters of California's ambitious high-speed rail project began their hard sell with lawmakers and the public Monday after releasing an updated business plan that scales back the scope of the project and speeds up construction to save money, but still relies heavily on speculative funding sources that might never materialize.

In addition to money from voter-approved bonds and startup funds from the federal government, the plan hinges on receiving billions more from a skeptical Congress, fees from an untested cap-and-trade system that is at the heart of California's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and unnamed private investors to jump aboard and risk their own money once construction begins.

The updated proposal speeds completion of the nation's first true high-speed rail system to 2028, about five years earlier and $30 billion less than projected in a draft plan released last fall by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. But the $68.4 billion price tag is still $23.4 billion higher than the plan voters approved four years ago.

California high-speed rail `in a decade'

Posted in Rail News on 2016-02-20 11:34:47

California's ambitious plan for high-speed rail service will become reality within a decade with service between the state's agricultural Central Valley and high-tech Silicon Valley, state officials say.

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