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Conference: "Realizing the Vision of a High Speed Rail System in California"

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  • Asha Weinstein Agrawal
    (From http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=894329) Realizing the Vision of a High Speed Rail System in California: Connecting People
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2011
      (From http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=894329)

      Realizing the Vision of a High Speed Rail System in California:
      Connecting People While Fostering Prosperity, Smart Growth and Sustainability

      A Public Policy, Transportation and Urban Planning Conference
      Monday, May 02, 2011 8:00 AM -
      Tuesday, May 03, 2011 5:00 PM

      Krutch Theater, Clark Kerr Conference Center - UC Berkeley
      (510) 540-5678
      2601 Warring Street
      Berkeley, California 94720

      California’s population is estimated to reach between 50 to 70 million
      by 2050. The surge on mobility demand can be solved by investing in
      conventional transport modes. However, this approach can have major
      environmental impacts if we consider their ecological footprint as we
      expand highways and airports plus the network of parking lots
      supporting them.

      High speed rail (HSR) has been heralded by some as a green solution to
      the intercity mobility needs of California by connecting cities faster
      and bringing communities closer. The expectation is that reducing
      demand for vehicles and airplane trips can facilitate the state
      meeting its climate change policy goals. But with construction set to
      begin next year, the question remains: Will HSR become a
      transformational infrastructure project fostering economic prosperity,
      global competitiveness and more livable and sustainable communities?
      Or if never built will it be a lost opportunity for localities along
      its path to reap economic gains, reshape urban centers into more
      compact ones, and change the way we travel and connect to different
      modes of transportation?

      There is great skepticism about large public projects particularly in
      the current difficult fiscal environment. However, Californian voters
      already granted their support to this visionary venture. By passing
      Prop 1A in November 2008, voters authorized $10 billion in state bond
      funding and acceptance of the proposed route. Federal funding has also
      been granted for its development with strong support from the Obama
      administration. However, much more investment will be required. It
      remains to be seen whether supplemental funds will come from public
      private partnerships or foreign investment, or how we can manage risk
      in such a long term project? As the largest infrastructure investment
      in transportation in the state in more than five decades, HSR
      implementation should be well managed, cost-effective and should
      maximize potential economic and environmental benefits. However, we
      must maximize economic benefits while decoupling economic growth from
      growth in transportation energy consumption and carbon dioxide

      This conference aims to inform the next stage in policy design and
      implementation to develop a HSR system for California from a
      multidisciplinary perspective. It will do so by exploring HSR’s
      environmental impact vis-à-vis other transportation modes, local,
      regional and statewide economic opportunities, private involvement in
      financing, and lessons from international experiences with HSR. Come
      gather with top national and international researchers, business
      leaders, policy practitioners and experts to discuss the economic,
      environmental and urban development considerations that can maximize
      the benefits of HSR to California and help spur a prosperous green
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