High-Speed Rail News #29: California No Longer Dreamin’

Rendering Of the California High Speed Rail Project

Rendering Of the California High Speed Rail Project – Image © California High Speed Rail Authority

We’ve updated you several times on the California high-speed rail project. Budget problems, environmental issues, bureaucracy – but finally! An approval. Let’s delve deeper into the specifics and read more about why you should care. The East Coast is also dreaming up high-speed plans, but they won’t be ready for a while (think decades.) Plus, the 8th World Congress on High Speed Rail just met, in of all places – America. We think that’s a very good sign.

California Lawmakers Give the Go-Ahead to High Speed Rail

Finally – California’s Senate approved funding for the first chunk of a high-speed rail system that is expected to eventually link Los Angeles to San Francisco. In a vote of 21-16, lawmakers green-lighted the issuance of $2.6 billion in bonds, while Washington will provide an additional $3.2 billion. The bill also includes close to $2 billion in funding for local projects. The bill heads next to the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been a staunch supporter of the project. He says it will help create jobs and modernize the state’s transportation system. But here come the critics…

As a bonus, here’s a video produced by the California High Speed Rail Authority in 2009 providing an overview of the project.

What Does California Mean for the Rest of Us?

If the system is established according to plan, it will become the first dedicated high-speed rail line in U.S. history — drastically reducing emissions, slashing travel times, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the nation’s most populous state. Here’s everything you need to know about the most ambitious public infrastructure project of our generation. There are criticisms, of course, and some are valid. But this is the future we’re talking about. And we’re ready to make history.

 NYC to Philly in 37 Minutes?

And a smooth-like-cream-cheese ride? Amtrak announced a $151 billion improvement plan that will transport travelers at speeds up to 220 miles per hour. Of course, the plan requires substantial financial support from both state and federal governments. The goal is to make travel through the Northeast Corridor faster than ever – by 2040. Well, isn’t that right around the corner! What are other routes being considered?

High Speed Rail Meeting in the USA

The countries leading the high-speed rail revolution have been meeting for the last eight years to discuss the future of this mode of transport. And for the first time it’s being held – in America? The world’s rail manufacturers and operators know this is an exciting moment to spotlight our nation’s progress, as well as President Obama’s vision for HSR. The DOT has many more thoughts on this, too.(Complete with train puns!)

Acela Train

Amtrak’s Acela Train – Photo © Amtrak

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