I’ve always been a big fan of high-speed rail, and I’ve been embarrassed that other countries have sped past the United States for decades, when it comes to transportation. Japan’s Shinkansen HSR (high speed rail) system has been operating since 1964, five years before we landed men on the moon. Yet somehow in the ensuing decades, the USA has stuck with their recipe of traffic jams, toll roads and pitifully out-of-date Amtrak system. Finally, California seems to be rolling toward a future that embraces smart, efficient, fast travel by train. But it’s not been without a hell of a fight.
Californian officials have just approved construction of a high-speed bullet train that links LA and San Francisco in two hours and 38 minutes, saving an estimated 324 pounds of CO2 emissions (the 400-mile drive takes six to seven hours by car, without traffic). If completed, the system will be America’s first high-speed intrastate urban rail line.
The california high-speed rail authority has been developing the project for over 10 years, to a range of public and government opinion. On Friday, July 6th, Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to begin building was passed by a single vote in the state senate on Friday July 6th, after vast approval in the assembly.
The first track of the 68-billion USD project is expected to be laid in late 2012 through early 2013 in the central valley. Service could begin in 2018.
Rendering of the interior of the station
The massive public works project would renovate old stretches of train track to develop more efficient urban planning