HSR crucial to California economic stimulus
- Published February 2009, Inglewood Today
Trains Crucial to California Economic Stimulus
Plans for a future high-speed train system just got a leg up, thanks
to the passage of both the state budget and Pres. Obama's economic
stimulus package. Last fall, California voters approved a $9 billion
bond for high-speed trains. About $8 billion of the $787 billion
approved by Congress will go toward light-rail [BATN: high-speed
rail] transportation projects. It is not clear how much will go
to California. However, Obama is expected to ask for an additional
$1 billion for the 2010 budget this week.
According to Quentin Kopp, a former judge and chairman of the
California High-Speed Rail Authority, California High-Speed Rail
Authority, a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which is about
410, 420 miles, will take two hours and 38 minutes with a one-way
fare of $55."
The massive project is expected to generate nearly 160,000
construction-related jobs to plan, design and build the system. An
additional 450,000 permanent jobs are expected to be created by 2035
as a result of economic growth relative to the train system being in
Construction is expected to begin by 2011. It could take eight to
eleven years to develop and begin operation of an initial segment of
the California high-speed train.
An implementation plan approved in August 2005 estimates that it
would take eight to eleven years to "develop and begin operation of
an initial segment of the California high-speed train"
Daily ridership is estimated between 91 million and 95 million --
which would significantly relieve gridlock. California has three of
the top five most congested urban areas in the U.S. Los Angeles is
the most congested city.
To serve the same number of travelers as the high-speed train system,
California would have to build nearly 3,000 lane-miles of freeway
plus five airport runways and 90 departure gates by 2020 -- costing
more than twice the high-speed train system and having much greater
What's more, the proposed high-speed train system will provide lower
passenger costs than for travel by automobile or air for the same
city-to-city markets. Right now, congestion costs approximately
$20 billion per year in wasted fuel and lost time.
Other regions looking to get their share of the stimulus money for
transportation include Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Washington,
D.C., New York, Texas, Florida and Ohio.
Currently, Amtak's Acela services, which run from Washington, DC, to
New York, and north to Boston is the closest thing to high-speed rail
service in the U.S. The journey from D.C. to New York takes a little
less than 3 hours. France and Japan currently have the most advanced
high-speed trains in the world.
For more information on the high-speed train project, visit