The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Thursday, 08 January 2015 11:40cat

California Governor Launches High-Speed Rail Construction

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A Fresno Police motorcycle officer looks towards the site of the high speed rail ground breaking as a freight train rolls A Fresno Police motorcycle officer looks towards the site of the high speed rail ground breaking as a freight train rolls JOHN WALKER — THE FRESNO BEE

Six years after California voters approved a $9.9 billion bond act to help finance a high-speed rail line between that eventually will carry riders from San Francisco to Los Angeles. California Governor Jerry Brown and other officials led a ceremony in downtown Fresno on Tuesday to mark the start of construction for the project. Instead of picking up shovels and scooping a pile of dirt like many groundbreaking ceremonies, the Governor instead decided to sign a ceremonial steel rail. Although the ceremonial start to construction took place on Tuesday, major construction is still likely weeks away. According to High-Speed Rail Authority board chairman Dan Richard, “We are entering a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system for the next five years in the Central Valley, and in the decade beyond that, we will be building across California.”  The first segment will cost $6 billion and be completed in 2018.  It will connect Merced to Bakersfield.

Governor Brown acknowledged that he had doubts about the project when he was in his second term in 2010.  However, he says his wife helped him realize the value of the project. While Governor Brown has changed his mind about the project, many other California residents who oppose the high-speed rail line have not changed their minds. Many people who oppose the line gathered outside of the fenced-in area where the ceremony took place. They want to see how the rail-authority plans to close the $25 billion funding gap to build the first operating segment from Merced to the San Fernando Valley. It is expected to cost $31 billion to complete this portion of the line but currently the authority only has $6 billion in hand. Governor Brown countered critics of the line’s cost by citing other California projects that faced criticism when the were unveiled including the Golden Gate Bridge, the California Water Project, and BART. 

The high speed bullet train line will be built in segments and is expected to be completed in 2028 and cost $68 billion. By that time the train will be able to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in three hours.  Eventually the line will be extended past Los Angeles to Burbank and then to Anaheim.


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