California high-speed rail officials are considering junking a 2012 decision to build the first segment from Burbank north into the Central Valley — and are now seriously studying the possibility of bringing the first stretch of track north to San Jose instead…
The outcome of the new evaluation will be known in the coming weeks, when the state unveils its 2016 business plan. The document will be the most comprehensive update for the $68-billion project in four years…
But the state is facing major difficulties with the south-first plan. By building in the north initially, the rail authority would delay the most difficult and expensive segment of the project: traversing the geologically complex Tehachapi and San Gabriel mountains with a large system of tunnels and aerial structures.
What the media often ignores is the plan for California High Speed Rail is to build a starter service from the San Joaquin Valley to a major metro area that would operate profitably. In talks with potential rail operators and investors by the HSR Authority, they made it clear they wanted the State to get a successful starter project built before they would commit to a full project. This meant an initial terminal in either the north or south at a major metro market. The advantage of going to Southern California is it is the largest travel market in California. It looks at this time that going to San Jose could be built sooner and cheaper to get a successful starter service up and running.
What local officials in both the Bay Area and Southern California need to remember is High Speed Rail is a State wide project. To fully serve California the entire State needs to be connected to High Speed Rail either directly or with connecting services. If the first leg goes to San Jose, good connections will be needed there to Caltrain, BART, Capitol Corridor and ACE trains. In the South using the future run-through tracks at LAUS Amtrak and Metrolink trains will need to be extended to Burbank Airport and Palmdale connecting with bus bridges to Bakersfield and High Speed Rail. The point is to make it possible to travel by rail and bus within California from the start faster and easier than it takes now to drive.
San Jose Mercury News
3 thoughts on “San Jose back in the running for early high-speed rail link”
I am so stoked about this! I grew up in San Jose and now live near Fresno! The idea of being able to jump on HSR and be in SJ in an hour sounds amazing. (right now its about a 2 1/2 drive). The really sad part about this is the opposition to HSR in the central valley. People here are so short sided in my opinion. I cant wait though, it is going to be amazing!
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