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Paper Approves HSR Plan; Columnist Has Doubts
The High Speed Rail Authority released their long-awaited new business plan on Nov. 1 to a skeptical crowd at the Sacramento Rail Museum. But the increased costs, revised time-line, and new focus on improving commuter rail on shared tracks won the praise of many, including skeptics, who continue to have doubts.
"The latest business plan from the California High-Speed Rail Authority will not change the minds of long-time critics – there's still too much unknown about this major infrastructure project that will take decades to complete. But it should provide comfort to those who do believe that rail should be a part of California's 21st-century transportation network.
The new plan is much more explicit about tying the system together with existing commuter and intercity rail systems, promising "connections at all new high-speed rail stations to existing regional and local transit systems." In particular, the new plan calls for getting spending under way quickly using $950 million set aside by voters in Proposition 1A for regional and local rail improvements."
From Dan Walters: High-speed California choo-choo slows down: "Whether a 200-mph bullet train is a rational approach to California's transportation issues is still problematic, since local rush- hour congestion is the biggest problem. But at least the newly revised plan scales back the pie-in-the-sky ridership figures that the CHSRA was peddling, but no one was buying."
From Sacramento Bee: California's high-speed rail backers take steps to quiet critics: The revised figures drew praise from a key legislator.
"Sen. Alan Lowenthal, the Long Beach Democrat who chairs the Senate select committee on high-speed rail, said the regional approach is a "major step forward" for the agency."
"I think up until now we've been on kind of a collision course, the Legislature and the High-Speed Rail Authority, because I don't think the High-Speed Rail Authority felt any reason to have to respond to any of our issues unless they were forced to do it," Lowenthal said. "At least now I think there's an attitude of trying to work with us. We will see what that translates into, but I think it's a great first step."
Thanks to One Bay Area