California's Embattled High Speed Rail Line Secures Critical $4.2 Billion Infusion
Lawmakers in California have decided to allocate $4.2 billion in bond funds necessary for completion of the high speed rail that will connect Bakersfield with Merced. The state will begin the process of building tracks, securing trains and electrifying the 100+ miles of railway that will serve as the line's central valley spine.
“We’re thrilled that California’s political leaders are ratifying the will of the voters by advancing funding for the state’s high-speed rail project,” said Sean Jeans-Gail, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Rail Passengers Association in Washington D.C. “Now, we’re calling on those same leaders, in partnership with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, to accelerate construction on this corridor.”
The funds have been locked up for more than a year. But now that budget negotiations have been reconciled and lawsuits aimed at derailing the project have been shut down by California's Supreme Court, the project is full steam ahead.
“I learned from the Speaker’s Office yesterday that a deal was struck that gave the Governor the $4.2 billion in HSR bonds that he wanted. That ends our hopes that HSR project can be killed,” wrote David Schonbrunn, president of TRANSDEF, one of the organizations trying to stop the project.
Jeans Gail applauded the victory and struck a tone of urgency. "The need to electrify the state’s transportation system to battle climate change is too urgent to let this project languish under a barrage of endless reviews and lawsuits.”
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