Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Now that dust has settled from last week’s symbolic groundbreaking for high speed rail in Downtown Fresno – a groundbreaking that didn’t actually include any ground being broken – people across the nation are taking a fresh look at the bullet train. 

One of the most interesting perspectives came from our Josh Stephens, a journalist and commentator for the California Planning and Development Report, an online publication that focuses on the development industry and urban planning.


Daniel Ruiz moved with his family from Seattle to Fresno to take care of his parents about a year ago. But found it really hard to find a job.

“I pretty much was on the verge of going homeless.," Ruiz says. "I’m a family man with three children."

He looked up and down the Valley for any descent paying job, but found none.   

“The job situation wasn’t looking good,”  Ruiz says.  "I started doubting myself. The jobs that were hiring were very part time at very low pay and I was starting to worry. I didn’t know where I was going to go week to week.”

California High Speed Rail Authority

California’s $68 billion high speed rail project ran into a rough stretch of track late last year, with judge ruling that the project has failed to comply with financing and environmental review requirements in 2008's voter-approved  Proposition 1A. While those rulings and a separate lawsuit about the sale of $8.6 billion in bonds, didn't stop work on the project, they did cast serious doubt about how the rail authority plans to move forward.

Governor's Possible Budget Move on Cap and Trade Gets Mixed Reactions

Jan 6, 2014
California High Speed Rail Authority

Environmental groups are reacting to the possibility that California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget may propose using cap and trade revenue for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the state has generated $530 million from the greenhouse gas emissions reduction program.

California High Speed Rail Authority

The opening phase of California’s high-speed rail project is scheduled to break ground this summer – and the project’s CEO is promising no further delays. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, it’s already behind what Governor Jerry Brown promised just last year.

High Speed Rail Systems Team Up to Pursue Trains

Jan 17, 2013
California High Speed Rail Authority

The California High Speed Rail Authority will work with Amtrak to seek out manufacturers of high speed trains. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the two systems hope by teaming up they can lower costs.

 Amtrak and the California High Speed Rail Authority say by working together they hope to advance high speed projects on both the east and west coast.

Amtrak is looking to eventually purchase 32 trains for its east coast system, and California is hoping to acquire 27 trains that operate 220 miles per hour. California

California High Speed Rail Authority

The federal agency that oversees the nation's railroad system has officially approved plans for the first leg of California's controversial high speed rail system.

The Federal Railroad Administration's approval on Wednesday was a necessary step to allow construction to begin early next year on the Fresno to Merced component of the system. 

The approval by the FRA will allow the California High Speed Rail Authority to proceed with purchasing right-of-way from landowners for the system. 

California High Speed Rail Authority

A new study suggests that the proposed high speed rail project could have big environmental benefits for California.

The study, released by UC Berkeley, compared the future sustainability of high speed rail with plane and car travel. It found a mature high speed rail system would use less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers accounted for more fuel efficient cars and planes in the future. And they looked at different levels of ridership when calculating greenhouse gas emissions.

Governor Brown Signs High Speed Rail Funding Bill

Jul 19, 2012
Amy Quinton / Capitol Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Wednesday that allows initial construction of a high speed train.

Governor Brown emphasized that California isn’t just funding a bullet train, but making an investment in the state’s economic future. The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $2.6 billion in voter approved bonds.

He celebrated the signing in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both cities will serve as major hubs for the eventual 130 miles of track through the Central Valley. But the Governor chose not to sign it there.

California High Speed Rail Authority

The California High Speed Rail Authority has released a Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project section between Fresno and Bakersfield. The Authority has provided alternative routes in response to public dissatisfaction with the proposals in the original report released last year.

Frank Oliveira of the group Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability, says he's still concerned with the revised draft, as he isn't convinced the Authority has done what they can to understand the effects the high speed rail could have in the Valley.