Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DOT grants $928.6 million for California HSR

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Tuesday formally awarded a $928.6 million grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for phase 1 ofconstruction of California high speed rail. The move comes even as Congress recently voted to terminate the Obama Administration’s overall funding emphasis on high speed rail.

ray_lahood.jpg“California’s population will grow by 60% over the next 40 years,” said LaHood (pictured at left). “Investing in a green, job creating high speed rail network is less expensive and more practical than paying for all of the expansions to already congested highways and airports that would be necessary to accommodate the state’s projected population boom.”

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has said the first construction will employ more than 100,000 people during the first five years, and add up to 450,000 non-HSR jobs to the state economy by 2040. Anti-rail critics bemoan the rising cost of the 700-mile, 220-mph system, now just shy of $100 billion.

Even some pro-rail observers complain that construction, first taking place in the Central Valley, does not adequately address the needs of the Golden State’s most congested urban areas.

California has committed $11 billion in state funding to the project.