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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Report: High-speed rail would boost Bay-area economy, improve mobility


High-speed rail would create jobs, stimulate the economy, and improve mobility and air quality in the San Francisco Bay area, according to a report recently released by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

A high-speed rail system would create 48,000 long-term jobs and prompt between $6.9 billion and $8.9 billion in construction spending, according to "California High-Speed Rail: Economic Benefits and Impacts in the San Francisco Bay Area." In addition, the system would cut travel time between San Francisco and San Jose to 30 minutes, ease the commute between the Central Valley and employment centers in the Silicon Valley, and reduce long-term pressure on the region's constrained airports. A train ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles would take 2 hours, 38 minutes, making high-speed rail competitive with air travel times.

A high-speed rail system also would reduce time spent on gridlocked highways; each day, Bay area commuters collectively lose about 150,000 hours to congestion.

In terms of air quality, a high-speed rail trip between San Francisco and L.A. would save about 320 pounds of CO2 emissions vs. the same trip by car. By 2020, high-speed rail could reduce California CO2 emissions by 12 billion pounds annually.

The California High Speed Rail Authority is placing a $9.95 billion bond measure on the November ballot to help finance a statewide high-speed rail system.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/6/2008