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High-Speed Rail Makes Whistle-stop In Santa Clarita

California_High_Speed_RailHigh-speed trains are projected to travel at 220 miles per hour and connect Northern to Southern California. More than likely that means those trains will be whistling through Santa Clarita. But, where and when?

Some of those questions could be answered when the California High-Speed Rail Authority holds a Santa Clarita Community Workshop next week.

On Monday, May 23 Authority officials will hold a meeting from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex Banquet Room, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway.

 


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The meeting is a follow-up to the open house and breakout sessions held at the Sports Complex on May 2. The purpose of the upcoming meeting is to review feedback collected earlier and review next steps.

On May 5, the High-Speed Rail Authority Board approved a conceptual study of an alternate alignment between Bakersfield and Los Angeles – an alternative that would generally follow Interstate 5, along the route known as the Grapevine – to determine if it may be considered as a feasible alternative along with the two Antelope Valley alignments being studied to connect Bakersfield to Los Angeles.

For Santa Clarita residents the choice is between having the high-speed trains pass the city along the Interstate 5, or along Highway 14.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $300 million in additional funding, bringing the total federal funding for the high-speed rail project to nearly $3.5 billion. Combined with matching state funds, California now has $6.33 billion to invest in the development of its statewide high-speed train project.

This new money comes from federal support for Florida’s high-speed rail project, which that state’s governor canceled earlier this year.

Following a competitive application process, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced May 9, that much of those funds have been redirected to 15 states, including California – which is set to begin construction on the statewide system next year.

The new money has been awarded to California to extend the initial Central Valley construction segment north toward Merced, funding the track and civil work from Fresno to the junction near Chowchilla, which will provide a connection to San Jose and San Francisco to the West and Merced and ultimately Sacramento to the North.

“It is a testament to the strength of California’s project that we have won 40 percent of every federal dollar awarded for the development of high-speed rail. In the past 15 months we have won the lion’s share of federal dollars, unlocked state bond funds and began engaging the private sector to secure their future participation, so that we can begin construction and begin creating thousands of quality jobs next year,” Curt Pringle, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority said.

Project engineers have yet to determine exactly how far this additional federal funding will extend construction on the initial Central Valley segment – the so-called critical “backbone” of the statewide system.

“Every mile of track laid in the Central Valley represents another step toward a system that is expanding the route to eventually connect Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego and points between,” the High-Speed Rail Authority said.

The question is, how much say Santa Clarita will residents have in determining their future as a view from a bullet train window.