In 2008, California voters took the visionary step to begin a high-speed rail project. Now, Governor Jerry Brown has challenged California to think big again.
This week's release of the High-Speed Rail Draft Business Plan <http://dl5.activatedirect.com/fs/d:l/z1cmuaeryp1blc/1048qthbgpqu3fk/1
> is a cornerstone of that challenge. Just as important, the plan shows how this statewide transportation network will be a powerful job generator, creating over 100,000 in the next five years alone and more than 1 million jobs over the course of its construction in California.
It's a business plan that thinks big for Californians who want jobs. It thinks big for Californians who want cleaner air. It thinks big <http://dl5.activatedirect.com/fs/d:l/z1cmuaeryp1blc/1048qthbgpqu3fk/2
> for Californians who know our transportation infrastructure can't keep up with our population growth.
And, in a traditional California style it's a plan that keeps our State at the forefront of technology, innovation and in the global economy.
The new business plan recognizes that the project will be built one step at a time and that each of those building blocks, while moving us toward a statewide whole, will also bring with them value to the regions served. It's a plan that reflects honest, realistic and credible financial assumptions to guide project decisions.
The first step in the journey is the construction of a 130-mile stretch in the Central Valley for about $6 billion, using already identified funding and breaking ground in less than a year, with completion in 2017.
The next step is extending this initial construction either north, connecting Bakersfield to San Jose, or south, connecting Merced to the San Fernando Valley. If the decision is made to build south first, this will cost $27 billion and would be completed in 2021. This is also the point at which trains will generate revenues from initial passenger service and the project will be able to attract private capital to help fund further expansions of the system.
Further steps include building the remaining sections needed to create a "Bay to Basin" system that connects San Jose to the San Fernando Valley.
New construction and future improvements to Caltrain in the Bay Area and Metrolink in Southern California will blend these services with the high-speed rail system to make possible a "one-seat ride" from San Francisco to Los Angeles (shown in Chapter 2 "Phased Implementation Strategy"). This "blended" system will utilize upgraded existing regional rail services and will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim. The goal is to complete this part of the system several years earlier than the full system and reduce the overall cost estimate by $20 billion. As outlined in Chapter 3 "Capital Costs", extending dedicated high-speed rail service into downtown San Francisco and LA/Anaheim may cost $98 billion over twenty years.
> The costs are big - but so are the challenges facing California. Efficient movement of people and goods throughout California is fundamental to the state's economy and quality of life and doing nothing to protect these assets in the face of an exponentially growing population is simply not an option. Without high-speed rail, the state will face much larger and more serious environmental and economic threats to our quality of life as we struggle to expand freeways and airports to keep up with the growing needs of our population.
Read about California’s plan for the future of this project <http://dl5.activatedirect.com/fs/d:l/z1cmuaeryp1blc/1048qthbgpqu3fk/4
> . After you have, we want to hear what you think. Click here to comment <http://dl5.activatedirect.com/fs/d:l/z1cmuaeryp1blc/1048qthbgpqu3fk/5
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