California High-Speed Rail: A Transformative Investment in California's Future

California High-Speed Rail: A Transformative Investment in California's Future

Jeff Morales (California High Speed Rail Authority, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0102-2.ch001


California has started construction on the first true high-speed rail system in the United States. In this chapter, the CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority describes how the state's historic investment in new high-speed rail infrastructure will benefit Californians. Benefits include job creation, statewide modernization of existing local rail lines, short and long-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, preservation of agricultural land and environmentally sensitive habitats, advanced clean and green construction practices and technologies, a commitment to 100% renewable energy use, and assistance to partner cities on transit-oriented planning for high-speed rail station areas.
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California’s pursuit of a high-speed rail system started three and a half decades ago, in 1981. At that point, California looked into a Southern California high-speed rail corridor which would have been built through a partnership with Japanese high-speed rail firms. Over a decade later, in the mid-1990s, the state’s growing population put increasing strain on existing transportation systems, causing officials to look at implementing high-speed rail on a statewide level. In 1994, the Federal High-Speed Rail Development Act, authored by then Representative (now current High-Speed Rail Authority Board Member) Lynn Schenk, identified California as one of five corridors in the nation for high-speed rail planning. During that same timeframe, the California Legislature (Legislature) created the Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission and charged it with exploring the feasibility of a California high-speed rail system. In 1996, the Commission issued a report that confirmed the feasibility of California’s high-speed rail project.

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