USA TODAY US Edition
Rail authority passes Calif. bullet train plan
The authority overseeing efforts to build a high-speed rail system in California approved a revised business plan Thursday, but the ambitious project still needs legislative approval.
“We’re 30 years behind the rest of the world. It’s time for us to move ahead,” state High-speed Rail Authority member Bob Balgenorth said.
Project opponent Frank Oliveira said the cost and other provisions of the authority’s updated business plan ran counter to the voter-approved initiative. When $9 billion in bonds were approved, voters were told the project would cost $45 billion and connect all the state’s major cities with trains running at speeds of 220 mph.
Last fall, the authority issued a draft plan saying the rail line would cost $98 billion, prompting Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to demand a major rework. The Legislature has until Aug. 31 to authorize the bond sale that would get the scaled down, $68.4 billion project started.