Too bad, this is a project California not only needs, but would center the concept for the entire West Coast.
Bullet train plan may never leave station
By E.J. Schultz - Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, January 30, 2007
The state's perpetually delayed high-speed rail project faces yet another funding setback. And this one could be fatal, dashing the dreams of bullet train enthusiasts, including many in California's Central Valley.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes slashing funding for the High Speed Rail Authority from $14 million to $1.2 million, leaving the group with enough just to keep its doors open. The Legislature has yet to vote on the governor's spending plan.
"There's really no public purpose for me and my staff to be in office unless you want to move forward with the project," said Mehdi Morshed, the authority's executive director, who wants the governor and lawmakers to approve $103 million for the project next year. "If you don't want to move forward with the project, then close it down and save yourself some money."
With his focus on road building, the governor also wants the Legislature to indefinitely delay a $9.95 billion rail bond slated for the 2008 ballot. That would clear the way for $29 billion in bonds the governor wants to put on the ballot to pay for courthouses, schools and dams -- the second phase of his "strategic growth plan" that would spend billions of dollars on roads but nothing on high-speed rail.
"In our plan that we put together, it didn't fit in," Schwarzenegger said in an interview last week. "It doesn't mean that it is not going to fit in in the future."
The electric-powered railroad would be similar to the bullet trains prevalent in Europe and other parts of the world.
Trains traveling up to 220 mph would speed the length of the state, zooming through the Central Valley with stops in Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Modesto, Stockton and Sacramento. An express trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles would take less than 2 1/2 hours.
Construction costs are estimated to approach $40 billion. But Morshed said the longer the state waits, the more expensive it will get.