CA HSR Draft Business Plan released
The Draft 2020 Business Plan details how the Authority plans to move the Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed line forward. This includes committing to completing construction in the Central Valley, setting a timetable to get the first high-speed trains running and executing the planning and design work for additional segments including the difficult task of tunneling through the mountains.
Construction will continue on the initial 171 mile operable electrified high-speed line in the Central Valley. This connects Bakersfield-Fresno-Merced, and once completed, it will allow high-speed transits to be tested and put into revenue service. This will provide a huge economic lift to communities in the Central Valley and spread immediate benefits throughout California.
We are also encouraged that the Authority is prioritizing expanding electrified service connecting San Francisco-Los Angeles. Cutting the travel time between these two mega regions and improving local transit is a must. And as California has a coordinated plan, every segment, high-speed, conventional and bus, will see a big boost in ridership, transforming travel throughout the state.
Part of seeing these priorities through is pursuing the necessary funding. You may remember a billion dollars of funds earmarked for California High-speed Rail was stripped by the Trump administration in 2019, the Authority is working to restore these funds and the federal investment in this project.
It seems likely that they will benefit from a better relationship with the Biden Administration, especially with a number of key federal officials stating high-speed rail as a top priority. Amit Bose, the acting Federal Railroad Administrator, issued a statement saying, “ The U.S. Department of Transportation looks forward to partnering with California as it leads the way to build back better.”
The business plan includes the option for single-tracking the Central Valley segments before making it double-track. This option — a savings of $1.1B out of $23B — is being suggested based on limited available funds. The California Legislature must step up and appropriate the remaining $4.2 billion in Prop 1A bonds as a sign they are committed to completing this important project.
The Authority is seeking public comments on their Business Plan until March 12, 2020. Click here to share your thoughts.