Reports of Death of High Speed Rail Greatly Exaggerated

No, high speed rail in California is not dead. Despite some initial confusion over remarks in his state of the state address this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom made clear that the landmark project is continuing with a greater focus on completing the first 100-mile stretch connecting Bakersfield and Merced. Newsom also provided reassurance that funding for electrifying and modernizing Caltrain in preparation for future high speed rail would remain. The Bay Area Council is a strong advocate for the Caltrain project and helped save the project by securing critical funding that enabled work to begin.

Council CEO spoke with ABC Channel 7 (KGO) about the importance completing the initial segment and then delivering connections to major urban centers. Watch the KGO Channel 7 interview>>

The Council welcomed Newsom’s plans to increase financial oversight and transparency of high speed rail along with his appointment of former Council Chair Lenny Mendonca to lead the California High Speed Rail Authority. The greater focus on completing the Central Valley segment raised concerns about the future of plans for bringing high speed rail to San Jose and San Francisco, but also highlighted the importance of the Council’s work to expand existing rail service—the ACE train, Capitol Corridor and Amtrak’s San Joaquins—connecting the Central Valley, Sacramento and the Bay Area. And Newsom’s message about high speed rail’s role in expanding economic opportunity in the Central Valley is consistent with the Council’s continuing work to organize the megaregion around a vision for future prosperity. To engage in the Council’s transportation policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Gwen Litvak.

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