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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

CHSRA's revised business plan outlines faster, cheaper way to build system


Today, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) unveiled a revised draft business plan that calls for building the state’s high-speed rail (HSR) system faster and cheaper than previously proposed.

By adopting a “blended” approach, under which CHSRA would upgrade existing commuter-rail lines in urban areas rather than build new dedicated track, authority officials believe the statewide system can be built for $68.4 billion — $30 billion less than what was outlined in the previous business plan released in November 2011.

Rather than build an initial construction segment between Madera and Bakersfield, CHSRA plans to build an initial operating segment connecting the Central Valley with the Los Angeles Basin by 2022. CHSRA officials expect the segment to have a positive cash flow, which they believe will encourage private investment that can be used to construct and operate the entire system.

Meanwhile, CHSRA plans to upgrade existing rail systems in metropolitan areas prior to, or in some cases in lieu of, building high-speed infrastructure. For example, in the San Francisco bay area, the authority will work with Caltrain to electrify the commuter-rail system, eliminate grade crossings and build passing tracks to lay the foundation for future HSR service to San Jose and San Francisco. In the Los Angeles area, CHSRA will upgrade the existing Amtrak/Metrolink corridor between Union Station and Anaheim to improve safety, reliability and capacity, and reduce travel times.

The full CHSRA revised draft business plan can be downloaded from the authority’s website,

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/2/2012