Newsom derails high speed trains
But Wasco link survives
February 14, 2019 | View PDF
Although Gov. Gavin Newsom is pulling the plug on the Sacramento-to-Los Angeles High Speed Rail project, he’s in favor of continuing construction and operation of the Merced-to-Bakersfield leg now under way. This means the train, when completed, still is expected to run through Wasco.
Newsom addressed the issue in his first State of the State address on Tuesday.
California voters approved the HSR in the 2008 election at an original cost of $40 billion; however, Newsom stated in his address that it could cost up from $77 billion to $100 billion, and until the state budgets more money for the project, the only portion that will be completed will be the Merced-to-Bakersfield line.
In contrast to the governor’s message, when the HSR Authority held its meeting in Wasco the previous Wednesday, Feb. 6, the information presented was all positive, with a video showing what the HSR would look like and how economical it will be for travelers up and down the state. The CEO project director of the California Rail Builders, Antonio Cancte, said at the meeting: “We expect the HSR buildout of Phase I to be in 2033.”
This phase would allow HSR trains to travel up to 200 miles per hour between the two cities – and through Wasco – to make the trip in about an hour. The route via car on Highway 99 takes from two to three hours, depending on traffic.