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High-Speed Rail wins big in stimulus
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The Obama Administration announced Thursday that the California High-Speed Rail Authority was granted $2.25 billion of the $8 billion in stimulus funds available for high-speed rail projects.
“This award is fantastic news for California and for our state’s high-speed rail project,” said Curt Pringle, Chairman of the CHSRA. “It is an award that will lead to the creation of tens of thousands of quality jobs in the near-term and to continued economic strength and enhance our transportation network in the long term.”
The CHSRA initially requested a $4.7 billion share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The $8 billion available was ultimately split among eight regional projects, however, ranging from Florida to Oregon and the Midwest. The California project received the largest share of available funding, and the largest percentage of requested funding.
The $2.25 billion awarded Thursday will be combined with matching state, local, and private funding — including the $9.95 billion in state bonds approved by voters in 2008 — to start work on the $42 billion, 800-mile rail system that will stretch from San Francisco to San Diego. State projections show that for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure projects for a high-speed train, jobs will be created for 18,000 Californians.
The 220 mile-per-hour trains will eventually ferry passengers from Modesto to Los Angeles in just under two hours, at a cost of approximately $46, but it could be some time before rails hit Stanislaus County.
The first phase of the project, running from San Francisco to Anaheim, drew the majority of the stimulus funds and could open by 2020. The Sacramento branch — including a likely stop in Modesto — is not projected to open until 2026.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.