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Proposal Would Shift CA High-Seed Rail Funding to Southern California

A new proposal for building high-speed rail in California would refocus funding to the urban ends of the complete, state route, by funding rail improvements first in Southern California.
August 5, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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An Amtrak platform at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.
David Tonelson

"Key California lawmakers have devised a plan to shift billions of dollars from the Central Valley bullet train to rail projects in Southern California and the Bay Area, a strategy that could crush the dreams of high-speed rail purists," reports Ralph Vartabedian.

The move comes several months after California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a radical new approach to the project that would have shifted remaining funding toward completing the project in the Central Valley, between Bakersfield and Merced.

"Assembly Democrats see greater public value in improving passenger rail from Burbank to Anaheim, relieving congestion on the busy Interstate 5 corridor before the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and putting additional money into San Francisco commuter rail," according to Vartabedian.

The new proposal would not halt the work already underway in the Central Valley. But, the new proposal "would curtail some of the planned construction in the Central Valley, completing only the 119 miles of rail line now underway and eliminating extensions to Bakersfield and Merced that would cost more than a combined $4 billion," according to Vartabedian.

An editorial by the Mercury News chimes on the on the news, arguing that the new proposal exposes a "build it and they will come" fantasy at the heart of the California High-Speed Rail project.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in Los Angeles Times
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