Officials Respond To New High-Speed Rail Authority Draft Business Plan
(by Alex Kekauoha) – The California High-Speed Rail Authority released a new draft business plan Friday for the rail line that could connect the Bay Area to the Central Valley and Los Angeles, but its receiving mixed reactions from some local public officials.
The report says the project has major economic benefits, including creating thousands of new jobs and generating billions in economic output. It also says the rail line would reduce travel times between California’s major cities.
Current travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles by passenger rail is about 10 hours, and by car its about six hours. According to the report, a high-speed train would take passengers between the two cities in just 3 hours.
If completed, the high-speed rail line will connect to BART at the Diridon Station in San Jose and could help relieve congestion on the local transit system.
BART Board President Robert Raburn said his agency fully supports development of a high-speed rail, which he said is vital to addressing the region’s acute transportation challenges in an environmentally responsible
“Imagine leaving your Bay Area home and being able to make stops in Silicon Valley and the Central Valley and eventually Los Angeles without ever sitting in traffic, without burning fossil fuel and without lining the pockets of a for-profit company,” Raburn said in a statement.
“It’s not just a dream — connecting BART with California High-Speed Rail will make it possible,” he said.
Despite the benefits of a high-speed rail line, Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, said in a statement that there’s still work that has to be done before the project can move forward.
“At first glance, the High Speed Rail project is still over budget and the funding to complete the program hasn’t been identified,” Frazier said.
According to the draft business plan, phase one of the project would cost about $77 billion.
“We still have no realistic way to pay for the project,” Frazier said.
Frazier, who is also the chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, has scheduled a committee oversight hearing for the updated High-Speed Rail business plan for April 2 at the state Capitol.