Governor signs California HSR funding bill Jul 2012
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
- It was a plane that carried California Governor Jerry Brown between Los Angeles and San Francisco this week, but the legacy of his visit to both cities on the same day is destined to be the ability in future to travel by train between the two city centers within three hours.
Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill
- Of the total 800-mile route, some 30-50 miles will be underground in twin tunnel alignments.
- Governor Brown was in both cities on Wednesday (July 18) to sign into law a massive US$4.7 billion State investment that will be matched by US$7.9 billion in Federal and local funds to support the State's high-speed rail project and other statewide transportation improvement plans that include expansion of the Los Angeles Metro, investment in the Caltrain and BART systems in the Bay Area and on the Blue Line of the Metro system in San Diego.
- Of the US$4.7 billion raised via State bonds and authorized in November 2008 when California voters passed Proposition 1A, some US$2.7 billion is allocated to the high-speed rail corridor and construction of the initial 130-mile long segment of the line from Chowchilla to Bakersfield in the rural Central Valley.
A second signing in San Francisco
- This will be matched by an additional US$3.3 billion in Federal funds. Projected to start in 2013, the construction project is anticipated to create 100,000 job-years of employment over the next five years, which is the equivalent of 20,000 full-time jobs annually.
- The State Senate approved the high-speed rail funding bill earlier this month, on July 6, by a margin of just one vote. The project has come in for serious criticism concerning cost estimates that have nearly trebled since the 2008 estimate of US$34 billion, and a lack of direction at the California High-Speed Rail Authority that is threatening to push completion of Phase 1 out to 2033.
Alignment of the high-speed rail vision
- The Senate vote in favor of funding allocations to high-speed rail is regarded as a major victory for Governor Brown and his strong support of the project. In signing the significant bill into law, Brown brushed aside the criticisms saying: "There are those who can't see the future, because their heads are in the sand" and that the project will have California "out in front once again". The Governor signed the significant rail funding bill at the historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, and the future site of Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco, both of which are stations that will serve as major hubs on the future high-speed rail line.
- Additional funding for metro projects and rolling stock upgrades in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego and for public transportation projects elsewhere in the State will have a positive impact towards stimulating local economies and advancing underground metro construction programs.
California HSR identifies qualified contractors - TunnelTalk, February 2012
Peer review critical of California's HSR plan - TunnelTalk, January 2012
Costs balloon for California's high-speed rail - TunnelTalk, November 2011
California calls for high-speed rail collaborators - TunnelTalk, February 2011
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