Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cal High-Speed Rail Authority Hosts Official Groundbreaking Ceremony January 6, 2015

FRESNO Cal High-Speed Rail Authority yesterday and Governor Brown joined hundreds of supporters broke t ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail system. In addition to the support of federal, state and local dignitaries, there was strong backing from Central Valley and California-based construction crews, small businesses, and local students who were eager to highlight how high-speed rail is positively affecting California today and will continue to into the future. This construction faze is set for the next five years in the Central Valley. There was a tour of nearby construction activity, which is being done by local and statewide businesses. They also note in their press release finalization of project designs, ongoing right-of-way purchases, and workforce training. This will be a 29 mile stretch of land from Ave 17 in Madera County to East American Ave in Fresno County. The construction will include 12 grade separations, two viaducts, a tunnel, and a bridge over the San Joaquin River. It will be undertaken by California-based Tutor Perini Zachry/Parsons (TPZP) who will be designing and building this first phase of the project. Many at the ceremony were talking about the electric train taking cars off the road and renewable energy, and it potential low cost of $90 from SF to LA in the time it takes a plane to do the same. It will take some time to complete the SF to LA leg for sure. It will likely cost more than $90 once it is accomplished if it is ever accomplished. Authorities say they need to speed up the eminent domain process, since only 100 of the 500 land parcels needed for the rails and stations have been purchased. Californians approved a nearly $10 billion bond for the train in 2008, and in 2012 the Obama administration dedicated $3.3 billion in stimulus funds. Part of the greenhouse gas fees to be collected under the state's cap-and-trade program also will go to the train. There is a lot of capital both political and economic invested in this plan. We will keep you abreast of its progress.

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