Five mayors say the time is now to build high-speed rail in California

It’s not everyday that the mayors of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento and San Jose co-write opinion articles in support of anything. Today, however, that quintet co-authored a piece in the Sacramento Bee supporting the state’s bullet train project which would ultimately link San Diego, Sacramento and the Bay Area.


Finally, there is the matter of where to start building. Many Southern Californians have said we should give priority to their part of the state; same in the Bay Area. We know that this system will never be a success until it connects these two population centers and does so in a way that is sensitive to local concerns. But the question of where to start does not require complicated analysis. The place to start is the place where we’re ready to start, and that’s the Central Valley.

No one thinks we should build the line through the Central Valley and then stop. And we won’t. There is a parallel to the building of the Interstate Highway System more than 50 years ago. When we started building the Interstate Highway System, the first segments to be completed were not in New York or Los Angeles. The interstate was born in the middle of the country, America’s heartland, with the very first sections laid in Kansas and Missouri and then connected to the rest of the nation.

It’s an interesting read, with the mayors taking on many of the criticisms leveled at the project by the California Legislative Analyst’s office last month.

Of course, at the end of the day the biggest obstacle for the project is money. The estimated cost of the first part of the project — linking Anaheim and San Francisco — is $43 billion, the majority of which has yet to be secured.

3 replies

  1. The Sleeping Giant (China) has long ago surpassed us with their bullit trains/ high speed rails. We have been talking about this for years and did nothing as of date. The time has long passed for us to act. My thinking is that we should commence construction between the two major cities (San Francisco and Los Angeles), see how it works and then take it forward.

  2. I am glad this excerpt makes the very important point regarding where the interstates were first built and it should help to counter the continued crusade of unsubstantiated criticism against building the central valley segment first. Awhile back, Fox News did a “report” on it claiming that it was simply a train to nowhere and not stating anything else about the overall project.