CityLab Daily: California’s High-Speed Rail Careens Off Track

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What We’re Following

Crazy train: California’s dream of a high-speed rail line running from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours got a rude awakening on Tuesday when Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to scale back the scheme significantly. “There simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were,” he said, alluding to the significant engineering, legal, and political challenges facing the project.

The 700-mile route linking California’s northern and southern metropolises has enjoyed fairly consistent public support since voters approved it back in 2008, though cost estimates have ballooned. Now, by limiting the plan to a 110-mile section in the Central Valley—the state’s agricultural heartland, where the train enjoys the least amount of political support—the rail project has earned a new nickname from detractors: “the train to nowhere.” But not everyone has interpreted the governor’s words as bleakly. California State Senator Scott Wiener, known for his transit-friendly housing proposals, tells CityLab’s Laura Bliss, “Let’s take this for what it is: step one.” Read her story: Where California High-Speed Rail Careened Off Track

Andrew Small


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