SACRAMENTO – 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)