Construction begins on California bullet train
January 6, 2015
State workers will begin construction Tuesday on the California high-speed rail project, which if completed, would link Los Angeles to San Francisco. [LA Times]
A groundbreaking ceremony on the $68 billion project will take place at the planned site of the downtown station in Fresno. Workers are then expected to begin building the first 29-mile stretch of rail, connecting Fresno to Madera.
Over the last two years, lawsuits against the project held up construction. The state won a series of court challenges and received a federal exemption from California environmental rules.
But, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has yet to secure even half of the funding needed for the project.
In 2008, California voters approved a $9 billion bond measure for the project. Since then, the Obama Administration committed $3.2 billion of grants, and the Legislature devoted 25 percent of future cap-and-trade revenues to the railway.
Cap-and-trade proceeds are expected to net the state $250 million to $1 billion annually. High-speed rail officials are also counting on money from private investors, as well as additional federal funds.
Rail officials must also purchase hundreds of parcels held by private landowners. The state, thus far, has only acquired 101 of the 526 parcels needed to build the first 29 miles.
Completion of the entire project is scheduled for 2028.