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Are You All Aboard with High-Speed Rail?

The Democrat-controlled Senate passed the first $8 billion leg of the $69 billion statewide project, setting in motion the most expensive project in state history. Think you will use it when it's done?

The state's high-speed rail project won't be rolling through Marin County, but Marin residents will be paying for it along with everyone else (along with SMART, but we don't need to get into that here).

Think the statewide system is something you'll use when it's completed? 

Let's back up ... Do you think it really will be completed?

On Friday, the state Senate voted 21-16 to spend billions of funding into beginning work on California’s high-speed rail project that will connect Northern California with Southern California tracks through the Central Valley. The project received $7.9 billion in state and federal money, which will be used for the first 130-miles of track and to upgrade a handful of transit programs, including Caltrain.

The state Senate vote follows a 51-27 Assembly vote that authorized the spending. In Friday’s vote, most Democrats voted in favor of the project, while Republicans opposed it, according to NBC Bay Area.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed lawmakers to approve the project, will now receive the funding measure.

“In 2008, California voters decided to create jobs and modernize our state’s rail transportation system with a major investment in high-speed rail and key local projects in Northern and Southern California," Brown said in a statement after the vote. "The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again.”

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who sat on the Senate's unofficial bullet train oversight group, voted against the funding.

With high-speed rail finally moving forward, Caltrain and Peninsula residents are set to reap even more benefits as well, the Mercury News reported:

Friday's vote also launches a long-sought project to transform the 150-year-old Caltrain line into an electrified commuter track carrying cheaper, zippier Caltrains between San Francisco and San Jose later this decade. BART will receive $140 million for new train cars, and Muni will receive $60 million for a new subway line to Chinatown.

The $1.5 billion Caltrain overhaul, which is also being funded with local and federal funds, is expected to finally solve the popular commuter line's ongoing fiscal crisis.

Statewide bullet trains would join the electrified Caltrain line next decade at the start of a three-hour journey from downtown San Francisco to Los Angeles, with a one-way ticket pegged at $85 in today's dollars.

This all begs the question for Marin residents: Are you all aboard?

Lloyd July 10, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I intend to take the Smart Train and connect to the Central Valley in 2099. Other than that I believe unless one can come from beyond the abyss this might be a project for our great grandchildren. That sarcastically said it is too bad because i have ridden bullet trains in Japan and Europe and they are wonderful.
Bob Ratto July 10, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Lloyd Great idea!...You can leave your housing pod near the SMART train station, ride to the PDA in San Rafael, hop the bus for the short ride to the ferry, hop MUNI to the newly being constructed Cal Train terminal, maybe take another train to the high speed train, open your can of beans (by now you will be an exhausted hobo), and get to some place in LA, by which time it will have sprawled up to Santa Barbara, so you can arrange for another mode of transit for where you need to go!..
Nick Kies July 11, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The problem isn't transportation and freeways. The bigger issue is the location of companies relative to their workers and the size of theses huge companies that need to draw off of large areas. Start zoning houses and jobs closer together and add economic incentives to sweeten the deal and put people close enough to their jobs to walk to work.
Tina McMillan July 11, 2012 at 04:52 PM
When you zone houses and jobs closer together you get an urban environment, like San Francisco. In SF you can walk or take a short bus ride to work. For some people this is where they want to spend their lives. For others, living near the ocean, living on the river, living in a forest or just living where there is space and land to grow food, flowers and children is their dream. You can't have a one size fits all solution in a society where people have the individual freedom to choose.
Donna July 11, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I'm 47. I'll use it if I'm alive and well enough. I hate drivng and flying has gotten expensive.
Heide van Nellen July 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Well said, Tina! What are we doing spending more money down a rat hole when we don't know where our next penny is coming from, are facing a huge tax increase, people are moving out of the state to avoid them, and California is compared to Greece. Is everybody in SACTO moribund?
LOEL M. BUCKLEY September 24, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Love this comment by Bob Ratto--telling us about all the transportation it will take to get to the train, all the parking and changes. And what is all the rush to get to Los Angeles area. Time enough for that now. And where did all the money come from. I thought there were a lot of hungry people in the United States. Lollie B

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