High-Speed Rail Coming At Just the Right Time

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announces $2.3 billion to begin development of a high-speed rail network in California.

Published: 29-Jan-2010

Today is a great day for California. We were just awarded $2.3+ billion to build our high speed rail network.

With 14% unemployment in LA, we're ready to get people back to work and this funding couldn't have come at a better time. Not only will high speed rail bring jobs to California when we need them most, it will build a sustainable and state of the art transit network, and provide an environmentally friendly way to travel.

This federal funding will jump start our high speed rail line. Together with $9.95 billion in state bonds from Prop 1A - the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act approved by voters on November 4, 2008 - we will make high speed rail in California a reality.

The jobs and environmental benefits are incredible, and for the first time we'll have a sustainable alternative to air travel within the state. High-speed trains use 1/3 of the energy vs an airplane and 1/5 vs a car trip. Eventually the system will save 12.7 million barrels of oil per year by 2030, even with future improvements in auto fuel efficiency. See here for more info about the environmental benefits of high speed rail.

One important component to achieving high speed rail's full potential and promise is connecting the network to the LA region's transit network, including our hub at Union Station. And the twelve transit projects voters approved in Measure R will dramatically expand that network, bringing rail farther to South LA, the Westside, the San Gabriel Valley, and East LA.

And, my 30/10 initiative would build those twelve projects in 10 years instead of 30. Put 30/10 together with high speed rail, and as US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says, "an absolute game-changer." (check out LaHood's blog here.)

I am grateful to the Obama Administration, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and our congressional delegation for leveraging the investment we have made in ourselves to turn the economy around. I've always dreamed big, and for my transit vision for LA, it is so rewarding to see my dreams coming true.

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SNCF TGV high-speed train in France.

French experience has shown that high-speed rail operates most effectively between large cities that are around 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers (600 to 930 miles) apart.

Illustration of what solar-powered bullet train might look like, courtesy of Raymond Wright.

The train would require 110 megawatts of electricity and would operate with solar power generated from overhead panels.

Double stack rail freight cars are five times more efficient that truck transport.

Federal Rail Administration study also tend to be more efficient than other types of trains.


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