California’s high-speed rail project is first in the nation to break ground
First section to be operational within seven years
On June 20, 2013, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner spoke to the National Association of Manufacturers and stated he wants to see the United States become a nation of builders again. “America’s greatness has always rested on our ability to build and produce things,” Boehner said. He cited Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and interstate highway system as examples.
On Tuesday, Jan. 6, in Fresno, California’s high-speed rail project became the nation’s first project to break ground. Within seven years, the Fresno to the Burbank airport segment should be operational. Within 14 years, the system will be built out more than 500 miles in two directions, linking downtown San Francisco to downtown Los Angeles. Ultimately, it will stretch from Sacramento to San Diego at 200 mph. The current price tag is $68 billion. California’s High-Speed Rail Authority says that’s cheaper than building dozens of new airport runways and highways to accommodate a state population expected to hit 46 million by 2035. Voters approved about $10 billion in bonds for rail construction. The Obama administration awarded $3.3 billion in federal financing. It is hoped that private development around stations will provide the additional funds needed.
Texas’s own Fort Worth-to-Dallas high-speed rail project and the Texas Central Railway are working through their respective environmental studies. The next meeting of the Texas High Speed Rail Commission is January 26 as the Commission turns one year old.