California is reaching out to the federal government for help in its high-speed train system’s construction. On Oct. 2, California officials requested $4.7 billion of federals funds.
California is one of 12 states competing for a portion of an $8 billion federal allotment that will go towards improving passenger rail systems nationwide.
The high-speed rail will allow passengers to have the option to travel approximately 125 miles per hour faster than traditional modes of transportation. The first stages for construction will include routes from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and eventually the train will extend south to San Diego and north to Sacramento.
“It is key for high-speed rail to hit metropolitan areas,” said Linda Cult, Principal Planner of the San Diego Association of Governments.
Cult said that as a metropolitan area, San Diego would be a good spot for the high-speed rail to run through. She said that San Diego has many commuters to Riverside, as both cities are connected through the Inland Empire.
“We need to be able to have an alternative to driving or flying,” Cult said. “We can’t build enough freeway lanes and runways to meet demands, so we need other solutions. Public transportation systems such as the high-speed train system would be good options for addressing future needs.”
Apart from higher speeds, there are many benefits to a high-speed rail system. Not only will the high-speed rail serve as a solution for congested freeways, but it will also create jobs and aid in economic development.
Jeff Barker, Deputy Director of California High Speed Rail, added that there are also environmental benefits.
“Twelve billion pounds of greenhouse gases will be eliminated per year with high speed rail,” Barker said.
The environmental benefits to the high-speed rail make the issue of constructing and expanding especially pertinent to Davis residents.
“This issue hits close to home here because we are part of a very green, liberal and environmental-friendly community that values the conservation of energy and the reduction of wastes,” said Laura Putnam, a sophomore business and biology major, in an e-mail interview.
Putnam said the system would also be a quick and efficient means of visiting friends and family she has throughout the state.
“If the high-speed rail expands to cover all of California, I will definitely take it to see the friends I have located in parts of the state that are too far to easily travel to by car,” Putnam said.
The train system will also address the issue of providing transportation for the growing state population.
“With twelve million more people projected to live in California in the next twenty years, we will need more transportation choices,” Barker said.
ELENI STEPHANIDES can be reached at email@example.com.