Motion by Supervisor Antonovich seeks to preserve high-speed rail route through the Antelope Valley

I suspect one of the most interesting discussions at Thursday’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors will involve a non-Metro project: the California high-speed rail project between Anaheim and San Francisco.

County Mayor/Supervisor and Metro Board Vice Chairman Mike Antonovich has authored a motion asking the Board to support a high-speed rail route that travels through the Antelope Valley between L.A. and Bakersfield — with a station in Palmdale. That was, in fact, the plan for the state agency building the line. But earlier this year the agency — beset with funding woes — decided to reopen studies of an alternate route along the 5 freeway that would be shorter and cheaper to build.

It will be intriguing to see if the Metro Board at this stage wants to throw its weight behind a particular route, given that the entire high-speed rail project is in such a tenuous state. The 5 freeway corridor between Bakersfield and Santa Clarita has relatively few people living near it, whereas Lancaster and Palmdale have a combined population of about 300,000. The Antelope Valley also lacks Amtrak rail service and is presently a two-hour journey to L.A. Union Station via Metrolink.

Earlier this year, Antonovich and Board Member Ara Najarian authored a motion — approved by the Metro Board — asking Metro to work with Metrolink to develop a master plan to greatly speed up train trips to the Antelope Valley. It’s clear that Antonovich has concerns about keeping the northern part of his district connected to the rest of the state and metropolitan area. The motion – which also seeks to have a So Cal representative on the high-speed rail board — is below.

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6 replies

  1. Cheaper and faster along the 5 is the way to go. If folks in the AV want to use high speed rail, they can easily take Metrolink to the Sylmar high speed rail station.

  2. I like the idea to run the line along the 5 fwy from Southern Ca to the Bay area.

  3. So its an interesting question of what is more important; making a rail link to Las Vegas possible and improving rail service to Antelope Valley or maximizing the speed and efficiency of that section of CALHSR. Personally I feel that the latter is the most important since every bit of speed gain makes the system all that much more attractive to on-the-fence travelers. Still though, I can understand how its a tough choice.

  4. @Ronny
    Also the planned Desert Xpress HSR to Las Vegas would link to the Antelope Valley rail segment instead of just terminating at Victorville. Although at the same time, a grapevine alignment would still be faster and cost less.

  5. I support this motion only on the basis that even if high speed rail never materialize Metrolinks Antelope Valley Line and Amtraks San Joaquin Line would greatly benefit from investments in the Palmdale/Lancaster Route.