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6/28/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

California high-speed bond measure postponed for two years


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On June 25, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century, which postpones for two years the placement of a high-speed rail bond on a statewide ballot.

Originally scheduled to be placed on the November 2004 ballot, the bond measure would provide $9.95 billion in state general obligation bonds to build an intercity high-speed statewide passenger rail system.

California High Speed Rail Authority officials believe the funding delay will not impact planning for the 700-mile system. The authority currently is accepting public comments on its Draft Program Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report. Final reports are scheduled to be complete by year end.

If the measure is approved in November 2006, construction bonds could be issued by 2008. However, the authority will have to present a business and finance plan that supports the viability of the project before it can be placed on the ballot, said Schwarzenegger.

Expected to carry 68 million passengers by 2020, the high-speed system initially will link San Francisco, Fresno and Los Angeles, with future extensions to Sacramento and San Diego. Trains will operate at speeds up to 220 mph and enable passengers to travel between downtown San Francisco and Los Angeles in two-and-a-half hours.


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