California High Speed Rail 'Plan B' Pushed In State Senate

The alternative plan directs a sizable percentage of the initial $6 billion allocation to the Bay and LA regions to upgrade existing commuter lines at the expense of greater investment in the Central Valley. Funding plan may be determined by July 6.
July 2, 2012, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Lance Williams describes the "proposal devised by state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee" to invest more heavily than the High Speed Rail Authority would prefer in the two 'bookends' of the high-speed-rail project.

The project was already greatly downsized to do just that - but with lesser amounts of funding for the two metropolitan rail systems by adopting a 'blended approach' that would electrify Caltrain in the Bay Area and improve the Metrolink corridor in the LA area.

"According to rail advocates who have been briefed on the idea, Plan B's top priorities include:

  • $2 billion tunnel through downtown San Francisco to bring commuter rail service – and, eventually the bullet train – into the city's new Transbay Transit Center from the Caltrain station more than a mile away.
  • 1.5 billion in Los Angeles-area rail improvements, including a redesign of Los Angeles Union Station's rail access and construction of rail overpasses. Together, the projects would speed rail service for hundreds of Amtrak and Metrolink trains each day and end chronic traffic bottlenecks.
  • $1.5 billion Central Valley bullet train line between Fresno and Madera – but with no immediate connections to Merced or Bakersfield."
  • Reaction from HSRA: "There are no legal, practical or contractual ways to move the money out of the Central Valley," Chairman Dan Richard wrote. "The Authority's revised plan (see Richard's "progress report" video) already makes major investments to rail across the state."

    Thanks to California League of Conservation Voters

    Full Story:
    Published on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in California Watch
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