The federal government, which has supplied $3 billion in funding for the project, has proposed an initial leg between Bakersfield and Fresno or Merced and Fresno. The idea is to get people to work while finding funding for the entire $43 billion route between San Francisco and Anaheim. Even if the tracks are built, it’s not clear if bullet trains will actually run onto them until other segments are also built. In the meantime, I think it’s fair to wonder whether the entire route will be funded or whether the federal funding will just turn into upgrades for existing Amtrak service.
Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne predicts that the outcome of Tuesday’s elections — with a Republican controlled House — will see transportation funding tilt toward more road projects and possibly away from Metro’s 30/10 Initiative and California’s bullet train project. But he also points out that despite the election, Measure R funding is in place and perhaps the biggest transit milestone of the autumn came with last week’s vote by the Metro Board on a route for the Westside Subway Extension. In that vote, Hawthorne thinks UCLA was a big winner because Westwood, increasingly isolated by traffic, will be accessible by the region once again. But he wonders if skipping a stop at Crenshaw was perhaps short-sighted in the long haul.
Oberstar defeat ends era of transportation policy influence (Minnesota Public Radio)
James Oberstar, the chair of the House’s transportation committee, was ousted from his seat in Minnesota in Tuesday’s election and Minnesotans are rightly concerned about losing a key spokesman on their behalf in Washington. On a national level, it remains to be seen what Florida Republican John Mica will do as the new head of the committee. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that infrasturcutre projects are needed for jobs but how to pay for them remains a source of dispute.