After years of criticism and skyrocketing cost estimates, California’s plan for high speed rail took a detour earlier this month, with the release of the project’s new business plan. Supporters say the proposal is “better, faster and cheaper” and could save $30 billion when compared to previous cost estimates for the project.
The plan saves money by connecting the new tracks scheduled to be built in the Central Valley with existing commuter rail lines in the Bay Area and Southern California. The plan will now go to the Legislature for approval before construction can begin next year.
Yet despite the cost savings, many are still opposed to the project, especially here in the San Joaquin Valley. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore recently spoke with the chairman of California’s High Speed Rail Authority, Dan Richard about how the authority plans to move ahead with the project, and compensate residents and businesses within the train’s path.
Richard also talked about the possibility that some Valley towns like Hanford, Corcoran and Wasco may be left without Amtrak service, thanks to plans to move conventional rail service onto the new tracks built for high speed trains.