High-Speed Rail in Southern California
IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — More than 100 California public and private sector transportation leaders voiced strong support for implementing high-speed rail in California in a report released today from the Center for Urban Infrastructure at Brandman University. The report said that in addition to the advantages of job creation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the top priority should be creating a more efficient mass transit system. The leaders also said California is in a prime position to build a high-speed rail system that will attract riders and private capital from multiple sources.
“High-speed rail will usher in a new era for transportation and jobs in California,” said Sarah L. Catz, coauthor of Thinking Ahead, High-Speed Rail in Southern California and Director for the Center for Urban Infrastructure. “High-speed rail will boost the United States investment in transportation infrastructure, where currently, the United States is far behind its global competitors.”
The report examined the views of public officials, private sector developers, transportation planners and investment backers who attended a conference sponsored by the Center for Urban Infrastructure in late August. A follow-up survey of these officials and other transportation leaders is included in the report.
Among the results, the survey showed 89% of the transportation experts give widespread support for high-speed rail. More than half of the respondents believe that private investment, including foreign investment, is seen as an important part of the high-speed rail system’s success. The survey shows that transit connectivity is an extremely important component to a successful high-speed rail system. The transportation leaders also said there is strong support for additional public/private partnership legislation.
Last month, the California High-Speed Rail Authority decided to begin construction of the Anaheim-to-San Francisco system on a 120-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley – between Fresno and Bakersfield. Approximately $5.5 billion is available to California today to begin construction on the statewide system. Preparations will continue on the rest of the system to connect this first segment of new infrastructure to major population centers in California.
“More than 80,000 jobs will be created in the Central Valley over the next five years,” said Curt Pringle, Chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “Companies from throughout California and investors from around the world are looking at California high-speed rail as a valuable investment and economic development opportunity. Our great state has only two options – move forward to invigorate and strengthen our economy or be left behind in a gridlock of freeway congestion and high unemployment rates.”
Two years ago when its economy was sinking, China realized that one of the fastest ways to revitalize the economy was to invest in infrastructure. What followed over 24 months was a massive investment. France’s rail network, which includes the high-speed TGV, has generated approximately 1.1 billion euros in profit since 2007. Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands have built their own successful high-speed networks.
“The entire industrial world is committed to building and expanding high-speed rail. The reason for such enthusiasm for high-speed rail is that high-speed rail is simply good business. California would be the first real high-speed rail system in North America,” said Tom Downs, Chairman of Veolia Transportation North America Board of Directors, the world’s largest private sector rail company.
The complete report and survey results can be found at www.c-u-i.org.
SOURCE Center for Urban Infrastructure at Brandman University