The Federal Railroad Administration recently announced that more than half of the $1.2 billion originally slated for Ohio and Wisconsin projects would be reallocated to California. The new funds could increase the length of the initial segment of the project from 65-miles to as much as 123 miles, running from Madera to Bakersfield, reports the Fresno Bee. With construction is scheduled to begin in 2012, officials estimate the project will generate 80,000 temporary construction jobs and 1,500 permanent positions.
High speed rail is a potential economic development "game-changer" that California should continue to embrace even as other states remain wary, the editorial board writes:
"High-speed rail is the most promising public-works project to come along in decades. It not only will create high-paying jobs, but will also transport people around the state efficiently and help improve air quality. California's high-speed rail leaders have been steadily moving forward while many other states act as if high-speed rail is an untried technology. Europe and Japan have been using it for years. As Californians, we are delighted to show the way in this country."