Photo: California High Speed Rail Authority
Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released a new business plan for the nation’s first-ever high-speed train network, estimating a project cost of $98.5 billion to complete the first phase of the system connecting San Francisco to Anaheim.It’s not like anyone expected the massive engineering undertaking to be cheap, but it is more than double the original projection of $43 billion when voters first approved bond funding for the project in 2008.
According to the plan, without construction of a high-speed rail system, California would exceed $170 billion through investments in highways and airports to meet its transportation needs anyway.
The project will be completed in phases over a 20-year period in what will eventually become 800 miles of track connecting every major city from Sacramento to San Diego.
Building the system in a series of smaller, independently-functioning sections allows the Authority to make changes based on financial conditions, while continuing to providing rail service in those corridors.
The first-stage is expected to begin in 2012 with the construction of a 130-mile segment linking Bakersfield to Merced.
California's high-speed rail system is the largest public works project undertaken in the state in 50 years
Construction on the initial Central Valley section of the rail is expected to create 100,000 jobs in the next 5 years
The high-speed rail will also be energy-efficient, using one-third the energy of aeroplanes and one-fifth the energy of cars
The electrically-powered trains, which can be run on renewable energy sources like wind and solar, is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 3 million annually
The first section of the high-speed rail — stretching from San Francisco to Anaheim — is expected to cost $98.5 billion
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