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High-Value Benefits of HSR

Jeff Morales, chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), recently spoke to rail industry representatives during a working lunch at the association's offices on how high-speed rail will have a transformative impact on that state's future.

The planned line would connect Los Angeles with San Francisco by 2029 with speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and allow for future extensions to San Diego and Sacramento. Construction began in January.

Morales noted that California is the eighth largest economy in the world and its population is estimated to reach 50 million by 2050. High-speed rail will address this growth as well as help to curb congestion and pollution.

The $68 billion project, Morales said, is funded in part with $3.3 billion in federal funding and $4.7 billion from Proposition A, which authorizes the California Transportation Commission to allocate funds for capital improvements to intercity rail lines, commuter rail lines and urban rail systems that provide direct connectivity to the high-speed train system and its facilities, or that are part of the construction of the high-speed train system.

In addition, 25 percent of future revenue from California's cap-and-trade program, the money industries pay to offset their air emissions, will help underwrite the project. Morales said the cap and trade is a game changer and represents unprecedented investment in public transit and in particular rail.


CHSRA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Morales talks about the impact of high-speed rail in California.

Photo by Mitchell Wood

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