High Speed Rail

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Work is progressing on the high-speed rail project’s most visible landmark in downtown Fresno, the new Tuolumne Street Bridge. Workers today began lifting the first of 42 massive steel and concrete girders into place.

The beams are 149 feet long and each weighs 83 tons. They will one day carry vehicle traffic from both Highway 99 and downtown Fresno over the Union Pacific and high speed rail tracks. Officials with the California High-Speed Rail Authority say that construction on the bridge is ahead of schedule.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The average commute in the Central Valley is just around 20 minutes. Now think of a long commute. Now longer. And longer. How about 6 times longer. That is what thousands of workers in the northern end of the valley are doing every day.

They are the target of high-speed rail advocates who think they can convince these mega-commuters to abandon their cars and move to Fresno or Merced to ride the train. But why are these workers making such a long commute in the first place? Reporter Jeffrey Hess shadowed one to experience the trip and ask that very question.

High-Speed Rail Authority

Supporters of California’s ambitious High-Speed rail project are making a lot of big promises about what the line can achieve, everything from less greenhouse gas emissions to fewer cars on the road. One of the most far-reaching claims is the potential to revolutionize towns where there will be stations like Fresno and Merced.

https://twitter.com/stopcawatergrab

Last week we heard from proponents of the effort to qualify a new ballot measure that would take money from high speed rail and direct it to the construction of new dams. While many California farmers support the effort, some are opposed, saying it would slow down the process and unnecessarily change a key part of historic state water law.

US Bureau of Reclamation

Just two years ago California voters approved a water bond that set aside billions to pay for new water storage. Now a new group backed by many of the valley’s most influential farmers says that’s not enough to build new dams and expand existing ones.

High-Speed Rail Authority

A new report from California's non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office raises questions about the California High-Speed Rail Authority's latest plan to end the project's first operating section near Shafter in rural Kern County. 

Proposed Ballot Initiative Would Divert High Speed Rail and Water Bond Money

Mar 16, 2016
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A proposed California ballot initiative would reallocate more than $10 billion from the High Speed Rail project and the 2014 water bond to instead fund water storage projects. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, the measure would do much more than that.

Opponents of the proposed initiative would seem to be strange bedfellows, some Republican lawmakers who have long fought for water storage projects, environmentalists, and some farmers. Jay Ziegler with the Nature Conservancy says the measure is an attempt to misguide voters.

High-Speed Rail Project Wins Crucial Legal Battle - For Now

Mar 8, 2016
California High-Speed Rail Authority

California high-speed rail supporters have dodged yet another legal bullet. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the state has won a lawsuit that threatened to derail the embattled project.

When California voters approved a high-speed rail bond measure in 2008, they included several conditions. Among them, trains must speed passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours, 40 minutes.

Opponents sued, arguing the state can’t meet all the conditions. Now, a Sacramento County judge has essentially ruled: maybe so, but it’s too soon to say.

High Speed Rail Authority

The decision by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to build the northern section of track first is having big consequences for the location of the project’s heavy maintenance facility. The facility and is highly sought after by several valley communities, and is expected to bring with it around 1,500 jobs.

In the authority’s new proposal, the first section of functional track would run from San Jose to Shafter.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High Speed Rail Authority has officially released an updated plan that makes big changes to first section of the bullet train.

The plan confirms that the Authority wants to change the first functional section of track to run from Bakersfield to San Jose. The original plan was for the first working segment of track to run from the Central Valley to Burbank outside LA.

The report leaked on Wednesday, but Thursday evening the Rail Authority released an official version of the document confirming the route change.

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