Gov. Jerry Brown convened the local faithful at Union Station to sign the bill that authorizes the state to sell $4.7 billion in bonds to build 130 miles of high-speed rail track between Bakersfield and Madera. That's up in the San Joaquin Valley, not currently reachable by train from the Los Angeles area. (You have to take an Amtrak bus up to Bakersfield.) The bill also helps fund local transit improvements in both the Los Angeles and Bay Area regions, say Metro's blog The Source. Brown will have a matching presser in the Bay Area this afternoon.
In our area, the bill signing means there will be $350 million availabe for fly-through tracks at Union Station, which should help improve Metrolink and Amtrak service. In addition, $115 million will go to the Regional Connector project and $88.7 million to Metrolink to likely be used for grade separations and new locomotives.
In their remarks, both Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa defended the bullet train project as a noble endeavour that California will need in the future — and said the line will be a worthy investment in the state’s economy and mobility. Brown said those who don’t see it that way need to get their “heads out of the sand.”
Photo from Union Station: Steve Hymon/The Source