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California Rail Electrification

John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

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  • May 28, 2019
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The California High Speed Rail project currently seems to be devolving into a political and legal contest, so I thought I would post an update of this project. The good news is that the current change in direction appears to be likely to bring more benefits to more of California's citizens sooner than the original plan.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 29, 2019

It's great that the current direction would be more beneficial to the citizens of California-- but what odds would you give it that the political theatrics actually get resolved in a way where the project can move forward and deliver those benefits? I certainly hope so, but it seems to be in a tough spot

John Benson's picture
John Benson on May 29, 2019

Theatrics are only at the federal level. My guess the federal funding issues will get resolved in the third branch (federal courts) as the State of California has many excellent lawyers. It could get fixed by the second branch (federal congress) during a budget reconciliation process.  Also note that the decision to start in the Central Valley was driven by the federal government. Starting at both ends would have been more reasonable, as you have experienced rail-commute agencies there.

One advantage of having a state dominated by a single political party is that more decisions are made by consensus. Valley Link appears to already have a critical-mass of support (and budget), so this project looks like it will happen. The early benefits will be for Central Valley commuters.

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