After nearly a decade of analysis and active engagement with communities along the route, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) Board of Directors recently concurred with staff recommendations for the Preferred Alternatives for the high-speed rail routes in Northern California.
California High Speed Rail Authority
Passenger rail in the United States has fallen a long way since it was the dominant mode of long-distance transportation. In a world of competition among cars, planes and trains, the point-to-point functionality of automobiles and the speed of planes means that most trains with existing technologies cannot compete.
By now, everybody in the rail management and advocacy communities, along with much of the general public, knows what happened to California’s high-speed rail (HSR) project. It’s dead. In his State of the State address, Governor Gavin Newsom scaled it down. Seven days later, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) finished the job with a letter from Administrator Ron Batory to Newsom and California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) CEO Brian P. Kelly.
For all intents and purposes, California’s high-speed rail project is dead. At least that’s the consensus among several observers of the U.S. high-speed rail scene, which, sadly, appears to be based more upon fantasy than reality.
“Real high-speed rail might still make sense in the U.S. in the densely populated Northeast Corridor and among certain high-population city-pairs elsewhere in the U.S. in the ‘sweet spot’ of 250-500 miles apart (too far to drive easily, too short to fly conveniently), if costs can be kept under control,” writes Eno Center for Transportation Senior Fellow and Eno Transportation Weekly Editor Jeff Davis. “But future high-speed rail projects would do well to avoid seven mistakes that have caused the California system to be indefinitely delayed.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, citing budget pressures, says the state will not move forward with plans to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco by high-speed rail. Rather, Newsom said the state will build only the 119-mile Central Valley segment of the line, linking Merced and Bakersfield. Newsom’s remarks, made during his first State of the State address Feb. 12, were not widely expected.
Have you seen Oracle founder Larry Ellison’s interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business News, where, paraphrasing Elon Musk, he trashes California High Speed Rail, calling it “1960s Japanese technology” that will be “one of the greatest embarrassments in the history of California governance”?
The US High Speed Rail Association announced that Dan Richard has been selected as the new Chair of the USHSR Advisory Board.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has appointed Boris Lipkin as the Northern California regional director.
A dispute between Union Pacific and contractors threatens to slow construction of California’s high speed rail line.