California Goes After All of Florida’s HSR Money
California wants Florida’s high speed rail stimulus money. Not some, not half, but ALL the money:
The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday voted unanimously to apply for all of the high-speed rail funding recently returned to the federal government by the state of Florida….
If California can capture Florida’s share, crews could link Merced and Bakersfield — the “backbone” of the system — and extend tracks either north or south by nearly 40 miles.
“California has proven that it can and will lead the nation with a vision of true high-speed rail,” Curt Pringle, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, said in a news release. “Every mile of track laid in the Central Valley represents another step toward realizing a statewide system.”
And from the California High Speed Rail Authority’s press release:
The resulting funds could allow the completion of the entire backbone of the statewide system – linking Merced and Bakersfield, including stations in each respective city. In addition to completing the backbone, it could also allow the Authority to build either north or south – north 39 additional miles toward the Bay Area or south, past Bakersfield, up to the Tehachapi Mountains.
It’s unclear whether California will actually get all the money. Other states are going to be competing for this funding, and of course there’s the bigger question of whether Congress will find some way to take the money back. It would be great if Central Valley Republican members of Congress would fight for this money instead of against it and against the jobs it would bring, but they’ve shown no sign of doing that. So California will have to plow ahead without them.
Applications are due to the US Department of Transportation on April 4. I would expect Ray LaHood to give this a quick turnaround.