California High Speed Rail Senate Hearing
On Tuesday, there was an informational meeting in the CA Senate, with members of the Senate Transportation Committee and Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee attending. The discussion revolved around the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Revised 2020 Business Plan and there were many Senators who expressed their support for the plan.
This is part of the process leading up to the critical vote this Spring, on appropriating the rest of the Prop1A bonds authorized by CA voters in 2008.
A vote in favor of appropriation would show that the CA Legislature is committed to completing the CA High-Speed Rail Project, which is an investment in the future of California.
Speakers at the hearing included Brian Kelly, CEO of the California High Speed Rail Authority, Lou Thompson, Chair, California High Speed Rail Peer Review Group and Helen Kerstein, Principal Fiscal and Policy Analyst, Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Brian Kelly spoke about the CAHSRA’s commitment to use a building block approach, which we call the integrated network approach. This means that each segment that is completed, starting with the Central Valley, will build on the rest of the network and provide immediate benefits.
Completing the Bakersfield to Merced segment, the backbone of the larger Los Angeles to San Francisco line, will improve travel between hundreds of cities from the Bay Area, the Central Valley, Southern California and beyond. Studies have shown electrifying this segment will have the greatest initial impact for all of California and it will feed off the additional segments further connecting the Bay Area with Southern California.
This approach has worked for high-speed rail projects around the world and it will work here too.