The state rail authority, tentatively bowing to demands of the northern San Joaquin Valley, now intends to link Merced to the initial operating segment of the California bullet train, a decision that could add more than $1 billion to that phase of the cash-strapped project.
The decision, unveiled at a board meeting Thursday, was part of 22 pages of revisions to the agency's draft 2016 business plan. The changes follow extensive criticism and comment about the draft plan, released in February, by legislators, regional officials and independent experts.
The board put off approval of the business plan until next week.
The revisions attempt to address a host of concerns,...