No Speed Bump For High Speed Rail
The California High Speed Rail Authority (CaHSRA) was unfazed by the news that the U.S House of Representatives killed funding for high-speed rail in its 2012 budget.
“The project isn’t dependent on 2012 federal funding. Our recently released business plan assumes no federal funding before 2014,” said Rachel Wall, spokesperson for CaHSRA.
Wall says the House decision will not affect the Central Valley backbone of the project, because that funding is secure. Construction is expected to begin next year on the 130-mile stretching from just north of Bakersfield to just south of Merced.
The funding for this segment has already been identified through federal funds and the voter-approved Proposition 1A.
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On November 1, CaHSRA Board Chairman Thomas J. Umberg released a new “phased approach” business plan that will allow the CaHSRA to adapt to changing financial conditions as it moves forward, segment by segment.
“We have carefully constructed a business plan that is mindful of the economic and budgetary constraints facing both the state and the nation,” said Umberg.
The plan also updated cost estimates and ridership figures. Officials hope the new plan will attract and drive private investment, and operate without any public subsidies.
And when talk in government is all about jobs, CaHSRA touts the project as a job creator that will employ 100,000 workers in the next five years, and is expected to generate another 1 million jobs moving forward.
The House budget now passes to the Senate for approval. Had the High-Speed Rail funding been approved it would have amounted to $100 million nationally.
“…which, if it was opened to an application process, California would have applied for. But again, the Nov. 1 business plan clearly anticipated that no federal funding can be budgeted for until at least after 2014,” said Wall.
If you would like to read the new business plan, click here.