High-speed rail releases new business plan

CA High Speed Rail New Business PlanSACRAMENTO – The California High-Speed Rail Authority released a new business plan Tuesday that lays the foundation for the high speed rail system they say will create 100,000 jobs in the next five years, and another 1 million jobs moving forward.

“Our role was to incorporate a business perspective into the plan to prove that it is financially viable,” said Board member Dan Richard. “What we present today is the culmination of a lot of sweat and hard work to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best bang for the buck.”

“We have carefully constructed a business plan that is mindful of the economic and budgetary constraints facing both the state and the nation,” said Authority Board Chairman Thomas J. Umberg. “It will deliver to California and Californians a cost-effective, efficient, and sensible alternative to more highways and increased airport congestion.”

The new business plan describes a phased approach to construction that will allow the Authority to adapt to changing financial conditions as it moves forward, segment by segment. The plan also updates cost estimates, ridership figures and funding expectations to reflect current economic realities.

The 2012 Business Plan estimates range from $24.6 to $31.7 billion for the Initial Operating Sections; $40.8 to $48.3 billion for the Bay to Basin system; and $65.4 to $74.5 billion for the Full Phase 1 system.

Construction will begin next year with a 130-mile segment stretching from just north of Bakersfield to just south of Merced. The funding for this piece, which will serve as the “backbone” of the system, has already been identified through federal funds and the voter-approved Proposition 1A. This initial Central Valley section is expected to create 100,000 jobs in the next five years.

California’s high speed rail system will initially be built with public sector funds, and when the system is operational, ridership will drive revenues that, in turn, will attract further private-sector investment.

The new business plan is available online on the High-Speed Rail Authority’s website.

The public will have 60 days to comment and help shape the final plan, which will be completed and provided to the Legislature in January 2012.

(Information via press release from the California High-Speed Rail Authority)

  4 comments for “High-speed rail releases new business plan

  1. William
    November 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    The initial phase from north of Baskerfield to Merced provides the longest straight stretch and easy, flat right-of-ways for the money. Plus, they want to be able to test it at high speeds.

    Consider that for the same amount of money, only a few miles in difficult urban terrain and eminent domain considerations and would duplicate many existing mass transit systems.

    This was a big discussion a few months ago when that first phase was announced but if people stopped to think it through it makes sense. You can’t test a 10 mile route in San Francisco at 200 mph. It’s smart to build in the least expensive and easiest place before you have to do any tunneling and tear down thousands of buildings in ST or LA. Sounds obvious but it’s still a topic of controversy.

    While commuters will use it in the urban areas, that’s not the main purpose as it’s also meant to connect urban areas at distance with each other as an alterantive to air travel and other modes.

    • William
      November 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      “…Baskerfield…” Did I write “Baskerfield”? That should read “Baskerville”, where the hounds are.

  2. Miffed American
    November 2, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Especially since the farming has been darn near shut down for a little fish called a freaking smelt. That region is in a financial funk with no improvement in sight. I cannot understand in all this time why a fwy hasn’t been built here from say Gorman to the 15 running across the desert along Pearblossom Hwy. eliminating that alternative of travel. I think a High Speed rail system isn’t needed right now.

  3. Matt Keltner
    November 1, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    And just how many people are going to ride from Bakersfield to Merced when that opens??? LA to San Diego or SF to Sacramento would have seemed more logical. The Central Valley doesn’t have the income or the numbers to support the first leg.

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