CA High Speed Rail Receives 'Vote Of Confidence'

<p>The California Transportation Commission allocated $15.5 million to the state's High-Speed Rail Authority for environmental, engineering and design work on short, designated corridors for the 700-mile, $40 billion rail system.</p>
October 27, 2007, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The money allocated (Oct. 24) came from $20.7 million budgeted this year by the governor and the Legislature for the California High Speed Rail Authority, a state agency that oversees the project. The authority had asked for about $100 million from the state.

"It's a step, but it's not as big a step as we would like," said Kris Deutschman, a spokeswoman for the authority, regarding the commission's vote. "At least it's a vote of confidence."

Others questioned putting $15.5 million into a project that they do not believe will be built because they say it is not economically feasible.

"It's a complete waste of money," said James E. Moore II, a professor in USC's department of industrial and systems engineering. "It's pork for the engineering firms."

"The bulk of the transportation bond money approved Wednesday will go to environmental, engineering and design work for segments of the proposed rail line between Anaheim and Los Angeles and Palmdale, and between San Jose and San Francisco, according to Steve Schnaidt, a consultant for the rail authority."

"Orange County transportation officials have contributed an additional $3.5 million for the project this year. The cost of the project is proposed to be evenly split among state and local governments, the federal government and private financing.

A $9.95-billion bond measure for the project is scheduled for the November 2008 ballot, although it has already been postponed twice. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing other transportation priorities, proposed earlier this year that the measure be postponed indefinitely, but the Legislature has not taken the two-thirds vote required to take it off the ballot."

Thanks to MTC-ABAG Library

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