Federal Funding Seems Likely for California High Speed Rail

California transportation officials are confident that federal support will back up $10 billion in recently approved bond sales to fund the state's proposed high speed rail system.
December 30, 2008, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"Transportation officials say that California's high-speed rail project seems to be on a fast track to a hefty federal contribution - perhaps as much as $15 billion to $20 billion."

"That optimism in the face of a dire economic outlook is the product of the priorities of President-elect Barack Obama's administration; the likelihood of a big federal infrastructure investment; growing concern over climate change; the volatility of gas prices; Californians' backing of the $10 billion high-speed rail bond measure and strong support for the project from the state's potent congressional delegation, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

"Building the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles and Anaheim line that will be the spine of the system will cost between $32.8 billion and $33.6 billion, according to the High Speed Rail Authority's business report. Extensions built later would cost another $12 billion. In addition to the $10 billion from state bond sales, the authority is counting on $12 billion to $16 billion in federal funds plus $6.5 billion to $7.5 billion in private investment and $2 billion to $3 billion in local contributions."

"Critics, during the campaign against state Proposition 1A, expressed skepticism about the plan's ability to attract federal funding during a recession. While most opponents now acknowledge that high-speed rail may capture billions from the new administration, they're still skeptical about the project's feasibility."

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Published on Friday, December 26, 2008 in San Francisco Chronicle
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