Ground broken for California’s 130-miles high-speed rail project

Gov. Jerry Brown and state political leaders on Tuesday celebrated their perseverance over lawsuits and skeptical lawmakers and voters as they ceremonially started work in the Central Valley on the initial 29 miles of the nation’s first high-speed rail system.

Speaking to about 700 supporters of high-speed rail in a vacant lot in Fresno, the governor was cheered when he called critics — about 30 of whom protested outside the fenced-off festivities — “pusillanimous … that means weak of spirit,” and said the state owed it to the future to think big and invest in projects like high-speed rail.

Brown noted that the State Water Project, BART and the Golden Gate Bridge all faced opposition in their time. “We need to be critiqued,” he said, “but we still need to build…”

While high-speed rail backers made speeches and signed a symbolic section of rail in lieu of cutting a ribbon or wielding golden shovels, a new Congress whose Republican majority has vowed not to contribute more federal funding to California’s high-speed rail project took office in Washington. They include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, whose district would be bisected by the fast rail line…

Surely no one expects a 21st Century Republican to favor transportation, logistics and commerce considered modern in most nations.

Along with the financial challenge comes the need to complete the project without significant delays or massive cost overruns, and the question of whether state legislators have the political will to keep the project going when it runs into trouble.

The current construction is expected to be completed by 2018…The authority expects to award a contract this month for the next phase, which would take the tracks south to Bakersfield. Once that stretch is completed, with work overlapping the initial leg, the plan is to work on a connection to Palmdale, not from Bakersfield but from Burbank. Not only is that a critical stretch in connecting high-speed rail into the Los Angeles area, but officials believe it could operate as a profitable line even before the connection to the valley is completed.

By 2017 or 2018, the agency expects to have a 130-mile stretch through the valley that can be used as a test track for high-speed trains. And by 2022, it expects to be able to run trains from Merced to the Burbank Airport. Connections to San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center and Los Angeles’ Union Station would be finished by 2029.

Critics…waved signs with such messages as blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

In the same time period China is scheduled to build several hundred miles of standard rail – only travel at 110mph – for Thailand connecting Bangkok and major cities to Laos and southern China. Myanmar’s main industrial areas will be linked to the deep-sea port of Dawei. 2000 miles of rail will be built in a trilateral project for India, Myanmar and Thailand – linking those nations to Laos, Cambodia and VietNam. The ASEAN north-south corridor will be extended down to Malaysia and Singapore.

Besides ASEAN nations, there are six more partner countries – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, combining half of the world’s population.

Good thing ain’t many of them as backwards as American conservatives.

4 thoughts on “Ground broken for California’s 130-miles high-speed rail project

  1. Update says:

    “One unexpected benefit of Donald Trump’s election as the next President of the United States could be additional future federal funding for California’s high-speed rail system.
    “Trump may be friendly to it,” Sierra Club California Director Kathryn Phillips told the Chronicle. “He will want to create jobs.”
    Last March, Trump compared the United States rail system to that of a third world country. He lauded China for quickly building a nationwide high-speed rail system. “[The Chinese] have trains that go 300 miles per hour,” said Trump. “We have trains that go chug-chug-chug.”
    During his election night victory speech, Trump emphasized that one of his top priorities will be funding a massive infrastructure program that could include high-speed rail projects across the nation.”
    Meanwhile: “On Tuesday, startup Hyperloop One announced that it had signed a deal with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to conduct a number of feasibility studies on potential Hyperloop routes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Earlier this year, the company agreed to develop a Hyperloop cargo offloader at the port and later received $50 million from Dubai’s port operator, DP World. These new feasibility studies commissioned by RTD seem aimed at transporting humans as well as cargo, however.

  2. Upchuck says:

    “China builds the world’s longest high-speed rail as rail stalls in the U.S.” “The political and institutional system allow China to gather national resources to accomplish large undertakings,” said Jia Limin, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University who heads Chinaʼs high-speed rail innovation program. Under a one-party system, the Chinese government backs rail projects by investing in technology innovation and infrastructure, which could also boost GDP growth. China has also grown from a builder of high-speed rail technology to an exporter of such technology to countries like Russia and Mexico.
    China spends more on infrastructure annually than North America and Western Europe combined. In 2008, China announced a RMB 4 trillion ($586 billion) stimulus package in an attempt to minimize the impact of the financial meltdown. Funded by both central and provincial governments, more than one-third of the package was dedicated to infrastructure, including railways, roads and airports.”

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