The California High-Speed Rail Authority released a revised Business Plan to launch the nation's first true HSR service, capable of traveling 220 miles-per-hour from Merced to the San Fernando Valley. The new plan implements service within ten years, cuts project costs by $30 billion, and utilizes existing rail lines on the northern and southern ends of the system.
Under the revised draft 2012 Business Plan, construction begins this year on the 300-mile Initial Operating Section, stretching from Merced to the San Fernando Valley.
Construction of the entire 520-mile rail system will finish in 2028, with service to begin in 2029.
Following the release of a draft plan in November, the California HSR Authority received comments from a broad range of interested parties, including the general public.
This new plan also improves the safety and efficiency of existing urban rail systems. These improvements will bring immediate benefits to commuters and ultimately allow the integration of local systems with high-speed rail.
Key changes in the revised plan include:
The improved system will cost $68.4 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars, a $30 billion reduction over the previous plan. Six billion dollars in funding has already been identified for the first segment of the Initial Operating Section, including $3.3 billion in federal funding and $2.7 billion in voter-approved Proposition 1A bond proceeds. Cap and trade funds are also available as a backstop against federal and local support to complete the initial operating section. No operating subsidy will be required.
Building the first segment of the Initial Operating Section is projected to generate 100,000 job-years of employment over five years, the equivalent of 20,000 full-time jobs annually.
The high-speed rail system will also reduce pollution and improve quality-of-life by saving 146 million hours of time spent in gridlock annually, reducing carbon emissions by 3 million tons annually, and eliminating 320 billion vehicle miles traveled over the next 40 years.
"In ten years, Californians will be able to travel through the Central Valley and into the Los Angeles Basin in half the time it takes to drive," said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
This revised business plan must be approved by the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, who will meet in San Francisco on April 12.