TRAC Proposes Plan B for HSR

TRAC Proposes Plan B for
HSR

11/27/13 Filed in:

In the wake of the
collapse of the Central Valley project, the Train
Riders Association of California has issued its Plan
B for High-Speed Rail:

1. The
Train Riders Association of California (TRAC)
strongly supports a modern High-Speed Rail (HSR)
system for California. HSR will be critical in
providing interregional mobility to a growing
population at a lower environmental impact than
widening highways and adding runways. Successful HSR
should greatly benefit the economy.

2. Even if the currently proposed $6 billion
Merced-Bakersfield project were successfully
completed, no funding is available to build the rest
of the HSR system. This would leave this very
expensive track unused and unusable, except perhaps
by Amtrak to save a few minutes on the San Joaquins.

3. Funding is a problem because the California High
Speed Rail Authority’s plans are not attractive to
private investors. The Authority hopes that $26
billion of federal grants will lead to private
investment, but the Sacramento Superior Court ruling
found that “there is, in reality, no reasonably
anticipated time of receipt for any of the potential
new federal funds.”

4. TRAC is grateful for the Sacramento Superior
Court’s ruling that the Authority’s project does not
meet the taxpayer protection requirements of the 2008
voter-approved HSR bond measure, Proposition 1A.
Preventing the current project from spending bond
funds illegally will preserve the potential for
successful HSR in California.

5. California needs a realistic and achievable HSR
plan. State government needs to partner with an
operator that has developed and operated commercially
viable HSR.

6. An economically successful HSR system will create
far more construction jobs than the current project,
and will support high-quality long-term jobs.

7. Filling gaps in the California passenger rail
network should be the state’s first priority. The
most significant missing link is Los
Angeles–Bakersfield. The Tejon/Grapevine route
parallel to I-5 is much faster and far more
economical than the Authority’s proposed route via
Palmdale. The July 2013 California Rail
News

centerpiece article discusses the Tejon option in
detail.

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