California High-Speed Rail
|California High-Speed Rail|
Artist's rendering CHSR trainset and livery
|Transit type||High-speed rail|
|Daily ridership||260,000 (CHSRA projection)|
|System length||800+ mi (1,300+ km) (proposed)|
|Top speed||220 mph (350 km/h)|
The California High-Speed Rail project is a planned high-speed rail system in the state of California to be run by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, commonly referred to simply as the Authority. The planned line would connect Los Angeles with San Francisco with possible future extensions south to San Diego and north of San Francisco. Initial funding for the project was approved by California voters on November 4, 2008, with the passage of Proposition 1A authorizing the issuance of US$9.95 billion in general obligation bonds for the project. The Authority released a revised business plan for the system on November 1, 2011, with a new cost estimate of $68.4 billion (2010 dollars), almost double the initial budget of $33 billion (2008 dollars) approved by referendum, along with a revised completion date was pushed from 2020 to 2033 if a Full Build option is chosen instead of the Blended System. This latest price estimate by the Authority for a Full Build option is $91.4 billion, according to the 2012 Business Plan.
According to the Authority website, it is "responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the first high-speed rail system in the nation. California high-speed rail will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a state-wide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs." Criticisms of the plan have advocated alternatives and highlighted the costs of the project.
On July 6, 2012, the California legislature approved construction financing for an initial stage of the project. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill on July 18. The funding approved includes $4.5 billion in bonds previously approved by voters, which, in turn, freed up $3.2 billion in federal funding that would otherwise have expired after July 6. $2.6 billion will be used to build an initial 130-mile (209 km) segment of high-speed line from Madera to just north of Bakersfield in the Central Valley. Funding will also be used for several "bookend" and connectivity projects designed to integrate the future high-speed rail system with existing local and regional rail lines. This blended approach was adopted in a revised Authority business plan approved in April 2012, and is expected to reduce construction costs while providing immediate benefits to rail users in the state. The business plan promises to give priority to closing the gap in passenger rail service between Bakersfield and the Los Angeles area. The plan estimates final cost at Year-Of-Expenditure (YOE) $68 billion for the Phase 1 project, connecting San Francisco with Los Angeles via Central Valley and Palmdale.
- 1 History
- 2 Route
- 3 Segments
- 4 Development schedule
- 5 Benefits
- 6 Criticisms
- 7 Alternatives
- 8 Funding
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Plans for a high speed train system linking Northern and Southern California were proposed by Governor Jerry Brown in the 1980s.
The ballot measure was originally scheduled to be put before voters in the 2004 general election; however, the state legislature voted twice to move it back, first to 2006, and finally to 2008 when voters approved the issuing of bonds with 52.7% voting in favor.
The cost of the initial San Francisco-to-Anaheim segment was originally estimated by the Authority to be $33 billion (2008) / $35.8 billion (2013), but a revised business plan released in November 2011 by the Authority put the cost at $65.4 billion (2010) / $70 billion (2013) / $98.5 billion (YOE). The latest plan has revised the costs down to $53.4 billion (2011) / $55.4 billion (2013) / $68.4 billion (YOE). An implementation plan approved in August 2005 estimated that it would take eight to eleven years to "develop and begin operation of an initial segment of the California high-speed train."
On December 2, 2010, the Board of Directors voted to begin construction on the first section of the system from Madera to Fresno. On December 20, 2010, with the infusion of an additional $616 million in federal funds reallocated from states that canceled their high-speed rail plans, the initial segment of construction was extended to Bakersfield. Another $300 million was reallocated on May 9, 2011, extending the funded portion north to the future Chowchilla Wye, so that the train can be turned. Construction is expected to begin in 2013.
In September 2012, the Obama administration gave California's high speed rail project the green light. President Obama put the project on a fast track. President Obama's plan would streamline the permitting process for the 114-mile (183 km) section of the project which starts just north of Fresno in Madera County and runs south to Bakersfield.
On August 20, 2013 the joint venture of Tutor Perini/Zachary/Parsons announced that it had executed a contract with the Authority for the design and construction of the initial Madera to Fresno segment of the California high-speed rail system. The contract is valued at approximately $985 million, plus an additional $53 million in provisional sums.
The system will extend from San Francisco and Sacramento, via the Central Valley, to Los Angeles and San Diego via the Inland Empire. As planned, the track from San Francisco to Los Angeles would be 520 miles. Possible stations are shown on the statewide rail modernization map at right. In January 2012, the Authority released a study, started in May 2011, that favors a route through Antelope Valley over one that parallels Interstate 5.
Diablo Range crossing track alignment
One issue initially debated was the crossing of the Diablo Range via either the Altamont Pass or the Pacheco Pass to link the Bay Area to the Central Valley. On November 15, 2007, Authority staff recommended that the High Speed Rail follow the Pacheco Pass route because it is more direct and serves both San Jose and San Francisco on the same route, while the Altamont route poses several major engineering obstacles, including crossing San Francisco Bay. Some cities along the Altamont route, such as Pleasanton and Fremont, opposed the Altamont route option, citing concerns over possible property taking and increase in traffic congestion. However, environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, have opposed the Pacheco route because the area is less developed and more environmentally sensitive than Altamont.
On December 19, 2007, the Authority Board of Directors agreed to proceed with the Pacheco Pass option. Pacheco Pass was considered the superior route for long-distance travel between Southern California and the Bay Area, although the Altamont Pass option would serve as a good commuter route. The Authority plans conventional rail upgrades for the Altamont corridor, to complement the high-speed project.
San Francisco to San Jose
The 50-mile (80 km) bookend from San Francisco to San Jose currently used by Caltrain is scheduled to be electrified by 2020. High speed trains will run at reduced speeds on this segment beginning with Bay to Basin in 2026, and then on dedicated HSR infrastructure for Phase 1 Blended in 2029.
San Jose to Merced
Merced to Fresno
The 60-mile (97 km) segment from Merced to Fresno in the Central Valley will run on dedicated HSR tracks for the Initial Operating Section in 2022. As of 7 November 2013[update], the route for the segment from Madera to Fresno has been chosen (pending environmental and rail approval from federal officials) and has been funded.
Fresno to Bakersfield
The 114-mile (183 km) Fresno to Bakersfield segment in the Central Valley will run on dedicated HSR tracks for the Initial Operating Section in 2022. As of 7 November 2013[update], the route for this segment has been chosen (pending environmental and rail approval from federal officials) and has been funded.
Bakersfield to Palmdale
Palmdale to Los Angeles
The 58-mile (93 km) bookend from Palmdale to Los Angeles, crossing the San Gabriel Mountains, will run on dedicated HSR tracks for Phase 1 Blended in 2029. XpressWest has plans to connect to Palmdale, and have passengers transfer to the Metrolink system to access the Los Angeles area, for their Los Angeles to Las Vegas high speed service in 2016.
Los Angeles to Anaheim
The 29 miles (47 km) from Los Angeles to Anaheim will run on an upgraded Metrolink corridor for Phase 1 Blended in 2029.
Los Angeles to San Diego
The 167 miles (269 km) from Los Angeles to San Diego will be built in Phase 2.
Merced to Sacramento
The 110 miles (177 km) from Merced to Sacramento will be built in Phase 2.
California and Federal ARRA funds are available to complete a 130-mile (209 km) initial segment from Fresno to Bakersfield in the Central Valley by 2017. This segment would connect with BNSF tracks at each end to allow the Amtrak San Joaquin trains to use the line, saving 45 minutes to an hour. The selection of the Central Valley as the location for initial construction was dictated in part by the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding, which stipulates that funding terminates in 2017 and that it be used for “rail passenger transportation except commuter rail passenger transportation." (p. 2-12)
The 2012 Business Plan (Exhibit ES-3) projects the completion dates (shown at right) for high speed rail segments, assuming additional funding can be obtained. No dates are given for the Phase 2 segments, Merced–Sacramento and Los Angeles–San Diego.
The 2012 Business Plan estimates that the first segment's construction will "generate 20,000 jobs over five years," with the Phase 1 system requiring 990,000 job-years over 15 years, averaging 66,000 annually. In 2009, the Authority projected that construction of the system will create 450,000 permanent jobs through the new commuters that will use the system, and that the Los Angeles-San Francisco route will generate a net operating revenue of $2.23 billion by 2023, consistent with the experience of other high-speed intercity operations around the world. Even Amtrak's semi-high-speed Acela Express service generates an operating surplus that is used to cover operating expenses of other lines. Generally fast trains are more profitable than slow trains since shorter travel time reduces staff costs and customers are willing to pay higher ticket prices for shorter travel times.
Since the trains will be completely grade-separated, there is no threat of interfering with automobile and pedestrian traffic. The project also involves grade-separation for existing rail lines with which it will share rights-of-way along part of its length, further improving safety on these lines and eliminating car traffic delays.(p. 2-7)
According to a fact sheet on the Authority website the environmental benefits of the system include:
In 2022, when the Initial Operating Section (Merced to the San Fernando Valley) is up and running, the resulting GHG reductions will be between 100,000 to 300,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in the first year. That’s the equivalent of from between 17,700 to 53,000 personal vehicles taken off the road. Between 2022 and 2040, the cumulative reduction of CO2 is estimated to be between 5 and 10 million metric tons. By 2040, the system will reduce vehicles miles of travel in the state by almost 10 million miles of travel every day. Over a 58 year period (from the start of operations in 2022 through 2080), the system will reduce auto travel on the state’s highways and roads by over 400 billion miles of travel.
In September 2008, Reason Foundation, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Citizens Against Government Waste groups published "The California High Speed Rail Proposal: A Due Diligence Report". The report projected that the final cost for the complete system would be $65.2 to $81.4 billion (2008). This is significantly higher than estimates made for the Authority by Parsons Brinckerhoff, an American engineering firm. It also projected fewer riders by 2030 than officially estimated: 23.4 to 31.1 million intercity riders a year instead of the 65.5 to 96.5 million forecast by the Authority and later confirmed by an independent peer review. The report stated that no existing high-speed rail train currently meets the proposed speed and safety goals, although the safety systems have not been fully specified, and that the reduction in CO2 emissions would be inconsequential. The time required to reach the proposed speeds, the distances between stops, and the fact that for part of the route the high speed trains will travel on regular freight train tracks rather than upgraded high speed rail tracks indicates that attaining the proposed speeds would be difficult between the majority of stops.
The following people were listed in the official voter information guide  as opponents for the November 2008 vote: Hon. Chuck DeVore, California State Assemblyman; Richard Tolmach, President California Rail Foundation; Mike Arnold, Ph.D., Co-Chair Marin Citizens for Effective Transportation; Hon. Tom McClintock, State Senator; Hon. George Runner, State Senator; and Jon Coupal, President Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office published recommendations on May 10, 2011, which they said will help the high-speed rail project be developed successfully. They recommended that the California legislature seek flexibility on use of federal funds and then reconsider where construction of the high-speed rail line should start. They also recommended that the California legislature shift responsibility away from the Authority and fund only the administrative tasks of the Authority in the 2011–12 budget.
The Legislative Analyst's Office published a report in December 2011 indicating that the incremental development path outlined by CHSRA may not be legal. According to the State Analyst, "Proposition 1A identifies certain requirements that must be met prior to requesting an appropriation of bond proceeds for construction. These include identifying for a corridor, or a usable segment thereof, all sources of committed funds, the anticipated time of receipt of those funds, and completing all project-level environmental clearances for that segment. Our review finds that the funding plan only identifies committed funding for the ICS (San Joaquin Valley segment), which is not a usable segment, and therefore does not meet the requirements of Proposition 1A. In addition, the HSRA has not yet completed all environmental clearances for any usable segment and will not likely receive all of these approvals prior to the expected 2012 date of initiating construction."
In January 2012, an independent peer review panel published a report recommending the Legislature not approve issuing $2.7 billion in bonds to fund the project. The panel of experts was created by state law to help safeguard the public's interest. The report said that moving ahead on the high-speed rail project without credible sources of adequate funding represents a financial risk to California.
Prior to the July 2012 vote, State Senator Joe Simitian, (D-Palo Alto), expressed concerns about financing needed to complete the project, asking: "Is there additional commitment of federal funds? There is not. Is there additional commitment of private funding? There is not. Is there a dedicated funding source that we can look to in the coming years? There is not." The lobbying and advocacy group Train Riders Association of California also considers that Bill SB 1029 "provides no high-speed service for the next decade".
By March 2013, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll, only 43 percent of likely voters supported the project, a decline of 10 percent from when the measure passed in 2008.
Elon Musk has criticised the project as too expensive and resulting in a train that is too slow. On August 12, 2013 he released a high-level alpha design for a Hyperloop transit system concept which he claimed would travel over three times as fast and cost less than a tenth of the rail proposal. The following day he announced a plan to construct a demonstration of the concept. Musk's claims have been subject to significant debate and criticism.
The cost of building equivalent capacity to the $68.4 billion (YOE) Phase 1 Blended plan, in airports and freeways, is $119.0 billion (YOE) for 4,295 new lane-miles of highway, plus $38.6 billion billion (YOE) for 115 new airport gates and 4 new runways, for a total cost of $158 billion.
The alternative to the $98.5 billion (YOE) Phase 1 Full plan is $145.5 billion (YOE) for 4,652 new lane-miles of highway, plus $41.0 billion for the airport component, for a total cost of $186 billion.
On November 4, 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a measure to construct the initial segment of the network. The measure provides $9.95 billion for the construction of the core segment between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim, and an additional $950 million for improvements on local railroad systems, which will serve as feeder systems to the planned high-speed rail system.
Financing plans to complete the initial segment require as-yet-unsecured support from federal and local governments, as well as significant investment from the private sector. In a plan developed by the CHSRA in conjunction with Goldman Sachs, the federal commitment was expected to be $12 to $16 billion, while private investors would invest up to $7.5 billion, leaving an additional $10 billion to come from local governments. Construction costs are projected to be approximately $98.5 billion (year of expenditure). The Authority projects the initial operating segment to produce a budget surplus which will be used to finance extensions to Sacramento and San Diego.
On October 2, 2009, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled California's official application for ARRA high-speed rail stimulus funding. The total amount of the application was $4.7 billion, representing more than half of the $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail. The application included:
- $2 billion for high-speed train facilities at Los Angeles Union Station, Norwalk Station and the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center; right-of-way acquisition, grade separations, utility relocation, environmental mitigation, earthwork, tunneling and track work between Los Angeles and Anaheim.
- $1.28 billion for station improvements, grade separations, electrification and other work between San Jose and San Francisco;
- $819.5 million for right-of-way acquisition, grade separations, utility relocation, environmental mitigation, earthwork and track between Bakersfield and Fresno;
- $466 million for similar work between Fresno and Merced
On January 28, 2010, the White House announced that California would receive $2.35 billion of its request, of which $2.25 billion was allocated specifically for California High Speed Rail, while the rest was designated for conventional rail improvements.
On October 28, 2010, the federal government awarded the Authority a further $900 million for passenger rail improvements, including $715 million specifically for the high speed rail project, but with the requirement that it be used for the Central Valley segments from Merced to Fresno, or Fresno-to-Bakersfield. While the CHSRA recognizes the federal government's desire for the initial segment to be built in the Central Valley, the Authority states that it will evaluate the starting segment according to its own criteria. This announcement brings the federal government's funding commitment to high-speed rail projects in California to $4.3 billion.
On December 10, 2010, the Department of Transportation reallocated $1.2 billion in federal high speed rail funding from states that had rejected the stimulus funds, including Wisconsin and Ohio. Nearly half of this funding, $624 million, was redirected to the Authority for use on the initial Central Valley leg of the project.
On May 9, 2011, the Department of Transportation reallocated $2 billion in federal high speed rail funding from Florida, which had rejected the funding. The DOT awarded $300 million to the Authority for a 20-mile (32 km) extension along the Central Valley Corridor. The work funded in this round will extend the track and civil work from Fresno to the Chowchilla Wye, which will provide a connection to San Jose to the West and Merced to the North. The California High Speed Rail Authority issued a draft Business Plan on November 1, 2011, for public review and comment. The Business Plan will shape the financial and operational implementation of the HSR project, and must be adopted and submitted to the Legislature by January 1, 2012 and every two years thereafter.
- California–Nevada Interstate Maglev, a proposed maglev from Anaheim, California to Las Vegas.
- XpressWest, formerly DesertXpress, a planned high-speed rail from Victorville to Las Vegas.
- Cambridge Systematics Inc. (July 2007). "Bay Area/California High Speed Rail Ridership and Revenue Forecasting Study" (PDF). California High-Speed Rail Authority. pp. 71–72. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- California High-Speed Rail Authority. "Implementation Plan" (PDF). pp. 23, 25. Retrieved July 17, 2008.[dead link]
- "Project Vision and Scope". California High-Speed Rail Authority. 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- "Californian high speed plans revised". Railway Gazette International. November 2, 2011. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2011.
- Michael Martinez (Thursday, July 19, 2012). "Governor signs law to make California home to nation's first truly high-speed rail". CNN. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Note: Rail freight uses a circuitous route through the Tehachapi Pass.
- California High-Speed Rail Authority (April 2012). California High-Speed Rail Program Revised 2012 Business Plan (.PDF). State of California. p. ES-13. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- California High-Speed Rail Authority. "California High-Speed Train Business Plan November 2008" (PDF). Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/challenges-remain-calif-high-speed-rail-plan-16743474#.T_v1mY7qs1I[dead link]
- California High-Speed Rail Authority. "Implementation Plan" (PDF). pp. 23, 25. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
- "High-Speed Rail Authority Approves State Matching Funds to Extend Backbone of Statewide System" (Press release). California High-Speed Rail Authority. December 20, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- "California high-speed-rail groundbreaking pushed back another few months". San Jose Mercury News. September 17, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "California HSR Authority releases study". Railway Age. January 10, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.[dead link]
- CHSRA Staff Recommendation Presentation
- Michael Cabanatuan (Thursday, November 15, 2007). "High Speed Rail Authority staff advises Pacheco Pass route to L.A.". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- The Associated Press (February 9, 2011). "State Picks Pacheco Pass For High-Speed Rail". CBS 13. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- 2012 Business Plan exhibit ES-3
- 2012 Revised Business Plan Fact Sheet
- California High-Speed Rail Authority (December 14, 2009). "December 2009 Business Plan Report to the Legislature" (PDF). pp. 109–110. Retrieved June 24, 2011
- Druce, Paul (Monday, June 6, 2011). "High speed rail operational surplus". Reason & Rail. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- Yarow, Jay. "Amtrak Loses $32 Per Passenger". Business Insider.
- "Final Report: Independent Peer Review of the California High-Speed Rail Ridership and Revenue Forecasting Process" (pdf). August 1, 2011. "We are satisfied with the documentation presented in Cambridge Systematics, and conclude that it demonstrates that the model produces results that are reasonable and within expected ranges for the current environmental planning and Business Plan applications of the model. We were very pleased with the content, quality and quantity of the information."
- Cox, Wendell; and Vranich, Joseph (2008–09),The California High Speed Rail Proposal: A Due Diligence Report September 2008, Reason Foundation, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation, and Citizens Against Government Waste
- "Voter Information Guide: Arguments and Rebuttals". California Secretary of State. 2013-03-13.
- "High-Speed Rail Is at a Critical Juncture". California Legislative Analyst's Office.
- Dan Walters (Thursday, December 15, 2011). "Legal trap could snare bullet train". North County Times. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
- Buchanan, Wyatt (January 4, 2012). "High-speed rail shouldn't be funded, report says". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 4, 2012
- Judy Lin (July 6, 2012). "California High Speed Rail Funding Approved". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Tolmach, Richard F. (August 2012). "High Speed Bait and Switch: $8 billion bill to produce zero miles of HSR". California Rail News 24 (2) (Sacramento, CA: TRAC). p. 1.
- "Poll: Fewer Than Half of Californians Support High-Speed Rail". Transportation Nation. 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- Vance, Ashlee (12 August 2013). "Revealed: Elon Musk Explains the Hyperloop, the Solar-Powered High-Speed Future of Inter-City Transportation". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Musk, Elon (August 12, 2013). "Hyperloop Alpha". SpaceX. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- "Musk announces plans to build Hyperloop demonstrator". Gizmag.com. 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2013-08-14. "[Musk] will develop and construct a Hyperloop demonstrator."
- "Comparison of Providing the Equivalent Capacity to High-Speed Rail through Other Modes". 2012-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31. "After adjusting the analysis to be more comparable to the costs described in the Business Plan, the total costs of equivalent investment in airports and highways would be $123-138 billion (in 2011 dollars) to build 4,295-4652 lane-miles of highways, 115 gates, and four runways for Phase 1 Blended and Phase 1 Full Build, respectively... In year-of-expenditure (YOE) dollars, the highway and airport costs would be $158-186 billion."
- Infrastructure Management Group; Barclays; Goldman Sachs; Sperry Capital (October 27, 2008). Financial Plan for the California High-Speed Rail Authority San Francisco to Anaheim Segment (.PDF). Infrastructure Management Group. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- "Fact Sheet: High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program: California" (Press release). The Whitehouse. January 27, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- "California High-Speed Rail Awarded $715 Million" (Press release). California High-Speed Rail Authority. October 28, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010.
- "U.S. Department of Transportation Redirects $1.195 Billion in High-Speed Rail Funds" (Press release). U.S. Department of Transportation. December 9, 2010. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
- "U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Billion for High-Speed Intercity Rail Projects to Grow Jobs, Boost U.S. Manufacturing and Transform Travel in America" (Press release). U.S. Department of Transportation. May 9, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- "Business and Funding Plans". California High-Speed Rail Authority. November 1, 2011. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- Berkowitz, Paul; Andrew Herring; Jeremy Meier (October 14, 2011). "California's High Speed Rail Project: Still on Track for 2012". The National Law Review. Retrieved November 26, 2011.
- California High Speed Rail Authority official web site
- California Corridor section of the Federal Railroad Administration web site