California's high-speed rail is slow to gain speed

 

Fourteen countries have high-speed rail networks; in just a few years, 10 more will. Yet America's primary bullet-train attempt is faltering in California, a state that will add 20 million people in the next two decades and needs to find a way to schlep them around. Estimated costs for the California High-Speed Rail Authority's plan recently doubled, and public relations stumbles, combined with a faltering economy and lack of federal support, are hindering the effort. If California gives up, the U.S. will not only fall behind China, Germany and Japan, but also countries like Italy, Portugal and Turkey, where bullet trains are gathering momentum.

1996 The California High-Speed Rail Authority is created. Its goal: Establish intercity high-speed rail service in the state.

1999 The Authority releases its first business plan. Costs, in 1999 dollars, are estimated at $25 billion; construction is scheduled to take 16 years.

2002 Gov. Gray Davis signs a bill calling for a 2004 vote on a $9.95 billion bond measure to fund the first section of the 800-mile high-speed train system. That vote gets postponed twice, due to California's fiscal worries.

2008 The oft-postponed bond measure finally hits voters, and nearly 53 percent approve it.

2010 January: California wins $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for its high-speed rail project, which it will leverage to $4.5 billion with state matching.

2010 The California State Auditor releases a damning report in April, saying the Authority "lacks detail" in its financing plans as well as safeguards to ensure contractors actually complete the work they bill for.

2011 In November: the Authority releases the latest version of its business plan, in which costs -- adjusted for inflation -- jump from a 2009 estimate of $43 billion to $98.5 billion by the time the project, which will break ground in 2012, is completed. The U.S. House kills all funding for high-speed rail, quashing California's hopes for additional future federal support; Obama had sought $8 billion. A Sacramento judge nixes a planned Silicon Valley route for the train.

2017 Completion date for the initial section, connecting Bakersfield to Fresno.

2033 Estimated completion date of Phase One, which will link Los Angeles to San Francisco. Express trip length: 2 hours and 40 minutes. Projected average one-way fare: $81

High Country News Classifieds
  • ASSOCIATE PROGRAM MANAGER
    Associate Program Manager ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our State Parks thrive. From redwood groves and desert springs...
  • ATTORNEY AD
    Criminal Defense, Code Enforcement, Water Rights, Mental Health Defense, Resentencing.
  • LUNATEC HYDRATION SPRAY BOTTLE
    A must for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cools, cleans and hydrates with mist, stream and shower patterns. Hundreds of uses.
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • FREE RANGE BISON AVAILABLE
    Hard grass raised bison available in east Montana. You harvest or possible deliver quartered carcass to your butcher or cut/wrapped pickup. Contact Crazy Woman Bison...
  • CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE - OKANOGAN LAND TRUST (NORTH CENTRAL WA)
    Do you enjoy rural living, wild places, and the chance to work with many different kinds of people and accomplish big conservation outcomes? Do you...
  • CARDIGAN WELSH CORGIS
    10 adorable, healthy puppies for sale. 4 males and 6 females. DM and PRA clear. Excellent pedigree from champion lineage. One Red Brindle male. The...
  • A CHILDREN'S BOOK FOR THE CLIMATE CRISIS!!
    "Goodnight Fossil Fuels!" is a an engaging, beautiful, factual and somewhat silly picture book by a climate scientist and a climate artist, both based in...
  • DIGITAL ADVOCACY & MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    The Digital Advocacy & Membership Manager will be responsible for creating and delivering compelling, engaging digital content to Guardians members, email activists, and social media...
  • DIGITAL OUTREACH COORDINATOR, ARIZONA
    Job Title: Digital Outreach Coordinator, Arizona Position Location: Phoenix or Tucson, AZ Status: Salaried Job ID Number: 52198 We are looking for you! We are...
  • DESCHUTES LAND TRUST VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Deschutes Land Trust is seeking an experienced Volunteer Program Manager to join its dedicated team! Deschutes Land Trust conserves and cares for the lands...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our team. We're looking for a great communicator who is passionate about conservation and...
  • INDIAN COUNTRY FELLOWSHIP
    Western Leaders Network is accepting applications for its paid, part-time, 6-month fellowship. Mentorship, training, and engaging tribal leaders in advancing conservation initiatives and climate policy....
  • MULESHOE RANCH PRESERVE MANAGER
    The Muleshoe Ranch Preserve Manager develops, manages, and advances conservation programs, plans and methods for large-scale geographic areas. The Muleshoe Ranch Cooperative Management Area (MRCMA)...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 52 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • ASSISTANT OR ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES
    Assistant or Associate Professor of Environmental Humanities Whitman College The Environmental Humanities Program at Whitman College seeks candidates for a tenure-track position beginning August 2023...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country Conservation Advocates (HCCA) in Crested Butte, CO is seeking an enthusiastic Executive Director who is passionate about the public lands, natural waters and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with volunteer management experience to join...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The conservation non-profit Invasive Species Action Network seeks an executive director. We are focused on preventing the human-caused spread of invasive species by promoting voluntary...