High Speed Rail Sprawl

Some planners are warning that high speed rail could spur exurban growth and sprawl.
March 18, 2010, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The Golden State, long known as a trendsetter for transportation and environmental policy, has received more than $2.3 billion in stimulus funds toward a proposed line linking San Francisco and Los Angeles by way of the Central Valley. The money is earmarked for construction, land acquisition and engineering and it follows the $9.95 billion allocated by a state ballot initiative. If and when the line is completed by 2030, riders will zip between the two cities in 2 hours and 38 minutes and pay less than half what it would cost to fly.

But that convenience could increase emigration from California's urban centers to the exurbs and beyond. In other words, it could lead to more sprawl."

Because of its potential to connect far-off cities with significantly shorter commute times, some worry that high speed rail could encourage the growth of exurban bedroom communities.

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Published on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 in Wired
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