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Are You All Aboard with High-Speed Rail?

The state Senate passed the first $8 billion leg of the $69 billion statewide project, setting in motion the most expensive project in state history. Will you use it when it's done?

 

California's high-speed rail project won't be rolling through Marin but residents here will be paying for it along with everyone else (along with SMART, but we don't need to get into that here).

Is the statewide system something you'll use when it's completed? 

Let's back up... Do you think it really will be completed?

Last Friday, the state Senate voted 21-16 to spend billions of funding into beginning work on California’s high-speed rail project that will connect Northern California with Southern California tracks through the Central Valley. The project received $7.9 billion in state and federal money, which will be used for the first 130-miles of track and to upgrade a handful of transit programs, including Caltrain.

The state Senate vote follows a 51-27 Assembly vote that authorized the spending. In Friday’s vote, most Democrats voted in favor of the project, while Republicans opposed it.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed lawmakers to approve the project, will now receive the funding measure.

“In 2008, California voters decided to create jobs and modernize our state’s rail transportation system with a major investment in high-speed rail and key local projects in Northern and Southern California," Brown said in a statement after the vote. "The legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again.”

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who sat on the Senate's unofficial bullet train oversight group, voted against the funding.

With high-speed rail finally moving forward, Caltrain and Peninsula residents are set to reap even more benefits as well, the Mercury News reported:

Friday's vote also launches a long-sought project to transform the 150-year-old Caltrain line into an electrified commuter track carrying cheaper, zippier Caltrains between San Francisco and San Jose later this decade. BART will receive $140 million for new train cars, and Muni will receive $60 million for a new subway line to Chinatown.

The $1.5 billion Caltrain overhaul, which is also being funded with local and federal funds, is expected to finally solve the popular commuter line's ongoing fiscal crisis.

Statewide bullet trains would join the electrified Caltrain line next decade at the start of a three-hour journey from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles, with a one-way ticket pegged at $85 in today's dollars.

The benefits to our neighbors to the south are clear. But it begs the question for Marin residents: Are you all aboard? Will you use the train? 

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Here since 1970 July 15, 2012 at 12:38 AM
This project out-boondoggles even the SMART boondoggle, which is bad enough in itself. No, I won't use it and No it isn't likely to be complete before I'm outa here. And No, nobody in the area where the first train goes will use it either. The first leg of the track runs from Fresno to Bakersfield. Traveled around in these areas much, have you? Well, let's just say you'll need a car to get anywhere once you arrive at the station at either end. Besides that, residents in these rural areas never think of using "urban" mass transportation to get around, because it's non-existent, so they won't use this train either. Finally, there is already train service in the Central Valley and the cars are pretty empty when they roll by. People who don't have money to buy a car there take the bus because it's a lot cheaper than the train. So if the high-speed train isn't used by people in the Valley from the outset, how can "they" (and I don't mean people in the valley) ever justify expanding the service? Of course, the answer to that one is "they" will just do it and send the bill to whoever is still living here and paying taxes.
John Glenn July 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Yup, I'd use it. It's about time we caught up with the rest of the world in terms of basic infrastructure. Taking the plane to LA now takes about as long as driving there, once you include security, etc.
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