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Governor Brown’s State of the State

Governor Brown’s State of the State 

Last week Governor Jerry Brown presented the State of the State speech to the legislature. In his remarks, he highlighted his commitment to build a statewide high-speed train project:

 

“Just as bold is our plan to build a high-speed rail system, connecting the Northern and Southern parts of our state. This is not a new idea. As governor the last time, I signed legislation to study the concept. Now thirty years later, we are within weeks of a revised business plan that will enable us to begin initial construction before the year is out.

 

President Obama strongly supports the project and has provided the majority of funds for this first phase. It is now your decision to evaluate the plan and decide what action to take. Without any hesitation, I urge your approval.

 

If you believe that California will continue to grow, as I do, and that millions more people will be living in our state, this is a wise investment. Building new runways and expanding our airports and highways is the only alternative. That is not cheaper and will face even more political opposition.

 

Those who believe that California is in decline will naturally shrink back from such a strenuous undertaking. I understand that feeling but I don’t share it, because I know this state and the spirit of the people who choose to live here. California is still the Gold Mountain that Chinese immigrants in 1848 came across the Pacific to find. The wealth is different, derived as it is, not from mining the Sierras but from the creative imagination of those who invent and build and generate the ideas that drive our economy forward.

 

Critics of the high-speed rail project abound as they often do when something of this magnitude is proposed. During the 1930’s, The Central Valley Water Project was called a “fantastic dream” that “will not work.” The Master Plan for the Interstate Highway System in 1939 was derided as “new Deal jitterbug economics.” In 1966, then Mayor Johnson of Berkeley called BART a “billion dollar potential fiasco.” Similarly, the Panama Canal was for years thought to be impractical and Benjamin Disraeli himself said of the Suez Canal: “totally impossible to be carried out.” The critics were wrong then and they’re wrong now.”

 

For a full transcript of his speech, visit: http://gov.ca.gov/home.php

 

Business Plan

In November 2011, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released a draft of its 2012 Business Plan which provides a comprehensive outlook on the financial, governance, and phasing plans for the statewide high-speed train project. The plan also outlines the alternatives that exist to upgrade our current transit system for the growing California population. A final Business Plan will be approved by the Board in 2012.

 

To review the Business Plan, please visit: www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/Business_Plan_reports.aspx.

 

Bakersfield - Palmdale Section

The Bakersfield to Palmdale regional team has continued to refine the proposed alignments in the Edison, Tehachapi and Antelope Valley sub-segments in preparation of presenting a Supplemental Alternatives Analysis Report to the California High-Speed Rail Board in February 2012. Refinements to the proposed alignments focus on value engineering along the entire segment.

 

For more information on the Bakersfield-Palmdale section, visit: http://cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/lib_Bakersfield_Palmdale.aspx

 

Palmdale - Los Angeles Section

The Supplemental Alternatives Analysis for the Palmdale to Sylmar section will be presented to the Board in April 2012. Following discussions with area stakeholders, more than ten alternatives were investigated throughout Acton, Agua Dulce and Santa Clarita/Sand Canyon. Upon further review by the Authority, the regional team will recommend to the Board alignment alternatives from Palmdale to Sylmar for study in the environmental review process.

 

For more information on the Palmdale-Los Angeles section, visit: http://cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/lib_Palmdale_Los_Angeles.aspx

 

I-5 Conceptual Study

In May 2011, the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board requested that the regional team assess potential alternatives along the I-5 to determine if new conditions and factors exist that would justify reconsidering the 2005 Program EIR/EIS decision to drop the I-5 corridor in favor of the Antelope Valley corridor.

 

The final study, released last week, reinforced the 2005 Program EIR/EIS. It concluded that the Antelope Valley corridor still has fewer potential environmental impacts and greater connectivity than the I-5 corridor. The Board agreed with staff recommendations at their January 2012 board meeting and requested that a proposed route through Palmdale be moved forward in the environmental review process. 

 

For more information on the study, visit: http://cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/pr_01122012__planning.aspx

 

Los Angeles – Anaheim Section

In March 2011, the California High-Speed Rail Board approved further study of a phased implementation plan for the Los Angeles to Anaheim section of the statewide high-speed train system.  This phased approach may bring early benefits to existing rail and commuter services and could improve mobility and rail safety for the local region.  This blended approach is being incorporated into the environmental document, as teams continue to work with the corridor cities, agency partners and stakeholders to develop the best solutions for the Los Angeles to Anaheim rail section.

 

For more information on the Los Angeles-Anaheim section, visit: http://cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/lib_Los_Angeles_Anaheim.aspx

 

Los Angeles - San Diego Section

In October 2011, AB 615 (Bonnie Lowenthal) was signed into law by Governor Brown, allocating $4 million in state funds to continue the environmental studies being completed throughout the Los Angeles to San Diego region.  This allows for further technical analysis to be completed in the areas of the section with multiple corridors under consideration.  We could not have achieved this funding without the support from various corridor stakeholders and agencies with an interest in seeing the planning work continue between Los Angeles and San Diego.  Further analysis and outreach to key stakeholders will continue with the submittal of a Supplemental Alternatives Analysis by the end of 2012. 

 

For more information on the Los Angeles-San Diego section, visit: http://cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/lib_Los_Angeles_San_Diego.aspx

 

SCAG 2012 RTP

The staff and board members of Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) recently drafted the 2012 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), a long-range transportation plan that is developed and updated by SCAG every four years. The California high-speed train is included in this long-term vision for the region, with the goal that early investment in existing passenger rail corridors identified for future high-speed train use will improve travel times and safety throughout Southern California. We want to thank the staff and committee members who have worked tirelessly to ensure high-speed rail is included in the 2012 RTP Constrained Plan.

 

For more information, visit: http://www.scag.ca.gov/rtp2012/index.htm

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