High-speed rail route will undergo major redesign

The proposed California bullet train will undergo major design changes, involving more than half of the route that traverses the Central Valley, the authority building the system said Wednesday.

The plan for building a 114-mile segment of the system between Fresno and Bakersfield was released in August, but encountered heavy criticism from citizens groups, local cities, major land owners and financial experts. The California High-Speed Rail Authority, responding to public feedback, said it would issue a new plan for that section next spring.

The segment is projected to cost $6.1 billion to $7.2 billion, up to double the original estimates. The escalation accompanied decisions to have long elevated bridges over cities and route options disrupting more businesses than first planned and traversing rich agricultural fields. The plan would have required 23 miles of elevated track structure and crossed 124 public roads, requiring big construction projects at each point.

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Bulk of high-speed rail costs could fall to state

Blowback: Mend, don't end, California's bullet-train program

-- Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

Image: Shown is an artist's conception of the San Jose stop on the California high-speed rail system. Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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