Thursday, June 18, 2009

California High Speed Train Project Update

According to MSNBCs article today, the California High Speed Train Project is one of the top projects being considered for funding by the Obama Administration stimulus package.

Other Mid-West high speed rail projects are all competing for the $8Billion. Even if California received the full amount, that would only be about 17% of the projected $45 Billion price tag. If some of this money is granted and combined with the bond issue approved by California voters, the project will have secured somewhere between 25% and 35% of the funding.

The published federal guidelines are requiring states with projects to act quickly to meet rigorous financial guidelines for their proposals on a short timeline, according to a press release issued by the federal Department of Transportation. The memo also states that the money is to be distributed in September in order to get the various projects started.

The pre-approval of the bond measure by California voters is a big plus in our consideration for the money as additional funding and political will has already been established.

Other areas under consideration for high speed rail are Texas, Florida, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, the Southeast, northern New England, Pennsylvania and New York.

The story also states:

The Midwest project foresees upgrades of three existing routes: Chicago-St. Louis; Chicago-Madison, Wis., via Milwaukee; and Chicago-Pontiac, Mich., through Detroit. Later, they'd upgrade a St. Louis-Kansas City, Mo. route. The governors of the eight Midwest states — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin — wrote Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in April appealing for money for the region, one of the hardest hit by the recession.

According to the article California would use the federal funds for lines connecting San Francisco and San Jose, and Los Angeles and Anaheim, with the bond money going to work on the 800 mile stretch from Sacramento to Los Angeles.

Considering the wide scope of the plan, it would be a great step forward in President Obama's stated goal to build U.S. infrastructure and promote high-speed rail programs nationwide.

Effectively, it would replace the extensive nationwide rail system this country in the first half of the 20th century which was dismantled in favor of the interstate freeway program that gave transportation priority to the automotive industry.

Ultimately, hubs at endpoints could be connected to interstate lines creating a new nationwide network similar to those in other countries and Europe.


No comments:

Post a Comment