There's little question that the $1.9 billion being allocated to existing commuter rail systems across California (out of the initial $8 billion funding) is integral to the long-range completion and integration of the state's proposed $68 billion high-speed rail project. But to read the list of improvements being made in legislative districts across the state, many far from the Central Valley, clearly demonstrates how the tracks were greased, so to speak, for HSR's narrow legislative approval.
Julie Small, writing for KPCC, has a partial accounting of the $1 billion that will go to rail and subway systems in Southern California, which she notes, "was key to winning votes in the legislature for the bonds." The list of notable projects includes: correcting Union Station's "hub in" design, existing track improvements and grade separations, Positive Train Control (PTC) technology for Metrolink's Antelope Valley line, and downtown L.A.'s Regional Connector Transit Corridor."The expansion of Union Station, the commuter rail enhancements and the regional connector are some of the really, really big projects," writes Small. "Sharon Neely with the Southern California Association of Governments also negotiated for $500 million in high-speed funds for dozens of smaller projects throughout the region."
"We covered every agency between San Diego and the connection to the Central Valley for Southern California." Neely says, "So everybody that needs to be a partner to this is a partner."