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High Speed Rail

July 3, 2009 | Ashley Powers and Dan Weikel
A potential corridor for passenger trains between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has become part of a federal initiative to modernize the nation's rail networks and develop high-speed service between cities. Thursday's announcement, however, might doom a 30-year-old proposal to build a high-tech magnetic levitation, or "maglev," train from Anaheim to Las Vegas if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gets his way.
February 28, 2014 | By Seema Mehta
After confirming his intention to seek an unprecedented fourth term, Gov. Jerry Brown said he was running because he believed he had been successful in shepherding the state during his tenure but had unfinished business. “Well, I like this kind of work. I've been doing it now for quite a bit of time,” Brown told CBS News' Scott Pelley in an interview that aired Friday evening. “But I've had some success and I see great opportunities, even still -- in building a high-speed rail, in taking care of our water needs, in fixing our unfunded pensions and actually making our prison realignment work and making a reality out of our returning power to local schools,” the governor said.
January 17, 2012 | Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel
As the price tag for California's bullet train has soared to nearly $100 billion, a central argument for forging ahead with the controversial project is an even loftier figure: the $171 billion that promoters recently estimated will be needed for new roads and airports if no high-speed rail is built. Without a fast-rail network, they warn, the state would have to add 2,300 miles of highway and roughly the equivalent of another Los Angeles International Airport to handle a projected surge in future travel.
February 21, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - Seventy-two years after Nazis began deporting French Jews to concentration camps, the French government is negotiating to pay reparations for the first time to several hundred Holocaust survivors now living in the U.S. who survived unspeakable conditions while being transported in government-owned rail cars and in the death camps at the end of the line. Stuart Eizenstat, a Washington lawyer who advises the State Department on Holocaust issues, said in an interview Friday that the French government entered into formal talks Feb. 6 and appeared to be intent on wrapping up negotiations by the end of the year.
May 2, 1993 | LEWIS BEALE, Lewis Beale is a staff writer for the New York Daily News. His last story for the magazine was on Japanese pop musician Ryuichi Sakamoto
SOMEWHERE NORTH OF TRENTON, N.J., AS THE TRACT housing, industrial parks and forested hillsides fly by at 125 miles an hour, the sensation begins to crystallize--a passenger railroad car has been transformed into a first-class airliner. This is no clunky diesel with its clickety-clackety roadbed noises, shuddering stops and starts, overbooked with passengers forced to sit in the aisles, heat that doesn't work, and a snack car that is always closed.
March 20, 2013 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO -- Public support continues to lag for California's $68-billion bullet train, a centerpiece of Gov. Jerry Brown's long-term vision for the state. Though California voters approved nearly $10 billion in state bonds to pay for the first phase of the project, a new survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that they remain divided over the proposal, which is scheduled to begin construction later this year. Just 43%of likely voters surveyed now say they favor the project, while 54% said they are opposed.
August 12, 2013 | By Jon Healey
It's easy for Californians to get breathless about Elon Musk's futuristic Hyperloop, considering how much bad news they've gotten about the high-speed rail line they voted for in 2008. So when Musk revealed details of his idea Monday afternoon in a blog post , Golden Staters could be forgiven for wishing they could have a do-over on that ballot initiative. But regardless of its superior coolness factor, Musk's idea faces some of the same hurdles that have been so problematic for the train project -- plus a few unique ones.
April 8, 2011 | By Jon Hilkevitch
Hoping Florida's loss will be their gain, Illinois and neighboring states have applied for some of the $2.43 billion in federal high-speed rail funding that became available after Florida Gov. Rick Scott scuttled plans for fast trains. That puts them in direct competition with California, which has set its sights on the same funds. The federal government recently announced that states could apply for the high-speed and intercity passenger rail funding that Florida returned. "California's application seeks funding for projects that will be the building blocks for a statewide network of rail lines linking high-speed and intercity rail lines to regional rail lines," California Gov. Jerry Brown said in a recent letter introducing the state's application.
February 4, 2012 | Steve Lopez
When it comes to California's plans for high-speed rail, scads of people have strong opinions. But that shouldn't be a surprise. As I noted in Wednesday's column, voters in 2008 approved a 520-mile train route that was supposed to cost $33 billion and be completed in 2020. Since then, not 10 feet of track have been laid, the estimated cost has tripled and the completion date is now 2033. And those are just guesstimates. Readers by the hundreds weighed in after that column.
July 29, 2011 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
Fresh questions about the ridership and revenue projections that underpin the state's $43-billion bullet train project have been raised in a new internal report by the agency charged with building the system. Among the key conclusions of a California High Speed Rail Authority panel of experts is that forecasts of up to 117 million annual riders by 2030 — which have helped support predictions that the system would generate billions in profits — need to be recalibrated to be more conservative and better reflect important factors that could affect ridership.
February 17, 2014 | By Brittany Levine
Transportation officials are considering several options that would pave the way for closing a dangerous street-level rail crossing on the Los Angeles-Glendale border. For years, the two cities have butted heads over the Doran Street crossing, which rail officials have said has the highest potential for disaster out of 312 crossings because of an adjacent propane facility, tanker truck traffic and vehicles that regularly stop on the tracks. Glendale has been pushing to close the crossing, but Los Angeles has argued it needs to remain open for emergency access.
February 13, 2014 | By Tom Zoellner
Who doesn't love a train? Who cannot fail to be seduced by the most appealing vehicle in human history - the rail-induced sensuality of "Brief Encounter," the desperate heroism of engineer Casey Jones, the creative muscle of the Big Four railroad barons, the plucky fortitude of Thomas the Tank Engine and the Little Engine That Could, all wrapped up in gleaming, rocking steel, punctuated by a high, lonesome whistle? And yet California voters have been expressing morning-after regrets since they voted for Proposition 1A, which promised them a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
January 29, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court ordered an appeals court Wednesday to undertake a fast-track review of two rulings that could disrupt financing of the voter-approved bullet train. In a brief order signed by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state high court transferred a challenge to the rulings by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration to the intermediate  Court of Appeal in Sacramento and ordered written arguments to be completed by Feb. 10. The California High-Speed Rail Authority asked the state Supreme Court late Friday to block the rulings by March 1, warning they could indefinitely delay construction of the rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
January 22, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
Under a little-noticed item in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget, the state would lend California's bullet train agency $29 million to keep the project moving ahead amid increased uncertainty about the availability of future funding for the massive project. The proposed loan follows a similar $26-million advance last year from general government revenues that prompted some lawmakers to voice concern about the possibility that such lending would take money away from other high-priority projects.
January 12, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown finally is showing us the money he hopes to parlay into paying for his bullet train. Basically, it's the cash from selling licenses to pollute. It's not called pollution licensing, of course. Officially, it's a cap-and-trade program, a polite government name for allowing industries to pollute for a fee. It's extremely complicated and somewhat controversial. More on that later. First, let's back up. Brown has been under pressure to specify how he's going to finance the $68-billion, 500-mile high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
January 9, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- A proposal to use money from the state's cap-and-trade system of pollution credits to help fund the proposed high-speed rail system “is going to be one of the central issues in the budget,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) predicted Thursday. “I'm open to the issue,” Steinberg said, but he added that Gov. Jerry Brown will have to provide a “credible plan to fund the next extension” of the rail system so that the Senate leader knows there is a financial plan beyond using cap-and-trade funds.
February 7, 2003
I applaud your Feb. 3 editorial, "Davis' Threat to Fast Rail," on the need for high-speed rail service. Anyone who has driven on the 5 Freeway or Highway 99 knows that these roadways are no longer sufficient. Although choices must always be made on how we allocate our funds, high-speed rail transportation is no longer an option but a necessity. We cannot afford not to do it. Gov. Gray Davis, pay attention! Richard Treiman Los Angeles
April 17, 2009 | Ben Meyerson and Richard Simon
President Obama touted his plan for developing high-speed railways Thursday, detailing how $13 billion in federal money would act as a "down payment" on creating speedier passenger train service. "High-speed rail is long overdue, and this plan lets American travelers know that they are not doomed to a future of long lines at the airports or jammed cars on the highways," Obama said. "There's no reason why we can't do this."
December 19, 2013
Re "A high-speed rail alternative," Opinion, Dec. 16 Stuart Flashman lays out a very reasonable plan for high-speed rail, one that, as he points out, was largely proposed by the California Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission in 1996. It is very important to discern that this previous route down Interstate 5 and through the Altamont Pass is a sensible and viable one as opposed to the slow, damaging and circuitous route created to satisfy political interests. Before destroying businesses, farms, homes and wildlife habitat along the currently proposed route, the California High-Speed Rail Authority should freeze spending and take Flashman's advice.
December 16, 2013 | By Stuart Flashman
Two court decisions have blocked the California High-Speed Rail Authority from issuing more than $8 billion in bonds and from using bond funds on construction until it fixes its funding plan. Now what? The authority says it will move forward using federal funds. But as one of the attorneys who successfully challenged the project, I can tell you that, on its present track, the future looks bleak. A series of shortsighted political decisions has left the state's high-speed rail system with an unworkable plan that's doomed to failure.
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