The newly defined initial leg, estimated to cost $19.8 billion, would be covered by funds already available for the rail line.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California bullet train officials say a new business plan that calls for building the first 250 miles from the Central Valley to San Jose could be finished without any additional funding beyond what’s been committed.
Rail spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley declined to comment Wednesday.
“The math is pretty clear”, said Dan Richard, chairman of the board that oversees the project. Some Southern California Democrats agreed to give the bullet train a quarter of future revenues from the state’s pollution fees in exchange for additional spending in Southern California.
A leaked preliminary version of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s yet-unreleased 2016 business plan apparently confirms the agency’s change in direction – rumored for several weeks – for its first passenger-carrying segments to the Silicon Valley when operations begin in the mid-2020s.
The new draft plan calls for getting a line from San Jose to Kern County up-and-running by 2025, instead of the section from Burbank to Merced by 2022.
A big change appears to be in the works for California’s high speed rail project. “Then we will build another 33 miles of tunnels and bridges before we get the train to its destination at Union Station in the heart of Los Angeles”.
The northern section is projected to account for $20 billion of the rail line’s $62 billion cost. The Republican majority in Congress has vowed not to contribute more federal funding to the project, which is more than two years behind schedule.
“It is obviously a great victory for Silicon Valley, and it reflects on our solidarity in support of the project”, said Rod Diridon Sr., whom that station is named after.
Voters who approved selling bonds for high-speed rail were told the nation’s first high-speed trains would whisk travelers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes, and the system would operate without a government subsidy.
The reversal in directions is partly an admission about the challenges of constructing a rail line through the steep Tehachapi Mountains. This switcheroo allows organizers more time to deal with Los Angeles’ complex geography.
“We have said all along that whatever happens or how it happens doesn’t matter as long as high-speed rail invests in Southern California”, Ikhrata said.
“What businessperson wants to pay the extra $2.9 billion to get from San Francisco to Bakersfield?” The Authority is required by Public Utilities Code Section 185033 to prepare, publish, adopt and submit an updated Business Plan to the Legislature on May 1.