Transportation officials in Southern California and the Bay area — the bookends of the state’s proposed bullet train — want a large share of the voter-approved money for the project spent quickly improving their rail corridors.
The plan, which has received some encouragement from Gov. Jerry Brown’s top bullet train appointee, represents a major shift in thinking about the first phase of the nearly $100-billion project.
Until recently, the project was expected to draw down only about one-third of its $9-billion bond fund in coming years to help pay for a 130-mile rail segment in the Central Valley. The new proposals call for spending an additional $4 billion upfront on improvements that could speed up existing passenger service in two of the state’s biggest metropolitan areas and prepare for the eventual arrival of bullet trains.
--Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian
Image: Rendering of proposed California bullet train. Credit: California High Speed Rail Authority.