Reduced Price Tag May Revive Plans For Calif. High-Speed Rail

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Commuters in the Southland who have long hoped for a faster way to San Jose — or San Francisco, Sacramento or any other city in the state — may have reason for renewed hope on Monday.

The state board responsible for overseeing the planning and construction of a proposed high-speed rail project is set to update its estimates after the plan was nearly derailed last fall over ballooning cost projections.

“I do think that the plan will address many of the issues people have raised about the funding, the timing, and whether we can really make it happen,” said Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard.

The proposed railway would have over 800 miles of track traveling to as many as 24 stations and would zip commuters from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than three hours.

“We have found that we don’t need to build our own set of tracks the entire way, we can use some of the existing tracks and that saves us a lot of money,” said Richard.

Richard added that the rail would also create as many as 450,000 permanent new jobs throughout the state over the estimated 20 years it would take to complete the entire rail line.

But despite the decades-long timeline, Richard said the benefits of the railway would become evident relatively soon after it becomes operational.

“Twenty years is when we get to the ultimate objective, but in the meantime, we start this year making improvements in rail systems in L.A., in San Francisco,” he said. “We’re going to be starting right away with lots of investments that have early benefits for people.”

“It would be quite a financial strain to place $68 billion upon tax payers. It’s a great idea, but it’s too expensive,” traveler Martravious Bickers said.

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to present the revised projections to lawmakers in Sacramento in coming weeks to appropriate $2.3 billion in rail bonds to begin constructing the first phase by year’s end.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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  • Corruption

    This is just a get rich quick scam for a few people. They are lying when they way it will no longer cost 98 billion. The minute this is approved some politicians and other people will deposit millions into their personal bank account.
    SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM That is all California knows. Three hours to get from SF TO LA? It only takes 4 hours to drive.

    • rock n roll

      Do we really want a train coming to L.A. FROM f@ggy frisco?

      This whole train thing was a bad idea and huge waste of money from the get go. Though if we are really going to do it, let’s deport the illegals in this state so we can save 10 billion(the cost each year) to do it.

  • Mokie

    This is a scam being pushed by the labor unions. The unions want their hands on the cash. They know it will never come in on budget. They know it more than likely will never be completed, however, the goal is to get the money and contracts, The public unions have ruined the country

  • william siddall

    a high speed rail line is an obsoleat idea from the start,watch it hit a car or truck at 200 miles per hour,this is calif, in 2012 make it a monorail like they have at disneland since 1955,even the metrolink should have been above the street level.

  • steve

    Yeah, right. The magical came up with savings, when everybody who wasn’t born yesterday knows that these kinds of projects always run extremely over budget.

  • LFF

    More liberal slush fund money for corrupt unions, union officials, and above all demo-KRAP legislature members to line their pockets! A complete waste of time and taxpayer money! DUMP it ASAP before Barrack the magic corrupter gets his fist into it!

  • Marissa

    The money should be used for local transportation needs.

  • Denny 906

    Nothing wrong taking Amtrak from Los Angeles to Oakland or F r i s c o? If I was in a hurry I can take the plane. Wasting money on this boondoggle is really a waste of scarce transportation funds.

  • EW_3

    It truly saddens me that we have so lost our common sense as a nation that this proposal is still on the table. Doesn’t anyone in government have the ability to say no! How can any person see this as a good idea.

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