California has kicked off construction this summer on the nation’s first high-speed rail line, a project scheduled for completion in 2029. The line will go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than 3 hours, with speeds as high as 220MPH.
Now that the go-ahead has been given for the project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) will begin building the first stretch, a 65-mile connection between Fresno and Merced. The project will create an estimated 20,000 jobs every year through 2018, a boost for California’s 8.6% unemployment rate.
The project is expected to cost around $68 billion, but only $10 billion has been raised thus far. California Governor Jerry Brown visited China in April to check out the more than 5,000 miles of HSR track already installed throughout the country (with 9,000 more on the way), perhaps in hopes that foreign investors would check out the California project and invest in getting it going. That’s right, China has 14,000 miles of high-speed rail tracks in the works, and we have none. Let’s get moving!
Perhaps the most stand-out part of the project is that construction will emit zero carbon emissions. According to a CHSRA report, a tree planting program will be used to help offset CO2 emissions. Construction will also run on 45% geothermal, 30% wind, 20% solar, and 5% biogas.
It’s about time we started seeing transportation like this in the United States. As much as I love taking the Amtrak train down to Chicago for the weekend, nothing beats the idea of getting there in less than half the time.
Where would you like to see a high-speed rail installed next?