Imagine a high-speed rail line that could get you from San Francisco to LA in 2 hours and 40 minutes.
That dream appears to be coming true, thanks to work by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. After getting a green light by State environmental impact assessors, they’ve begun implementation of an 800-mile bullet-train system that will connect Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Orange County and San Diego. Trains traveling at 220 mph on the systems are forecast to carry up to 100 million passengers per year by 2030.
While 2030 is a long way off, at least things are moving in the right direction. Having a high-speed rail system connecting (eventually) the length of the West coast is a good idea for a number of reasons, including greenhouse-gas emissions reductions, improving public transportation and reducing congestion, and creating half a million new jobs. While our aging standby Amtrak is still around (believe it or not) and bearable for short distances, it’s more expensive and takes twice as much time to travel the same distance when compared to driving (non-California example: 15 hours from Portland, OR to San Francisco).
The State will have a bond measure of $9.95 billion on the November 2008 ballot, which requires a simple majority vote for approval. The measure allocates $9 billion for the high-speed rail system and $950 million for improvements to other rail services that connect to the high-speed service.
For more information, see the website of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
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This story was also reported at EcoLocalizer: A Train as Fast as a Plane: The Plan for High-Speed Rail in California Moves Forward
Photo Credit: NC3D, provided by the California High Speed Rail Authority