Officials have marked the start of a long production process for the nation’s first bullet train in California. If successful, the high-speed railway will travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just under three hours at speeds of up to 200 mph.
Not everyone, however, is thrilled about the project. Numerous communities see the high-speed bullet train as a curse instead of a blessing, and have decided to sue the company looking to construct it. Republican members of Congress have also vowed to cut funding, stating they will be unable to deliver what was initially promised for the $68 billion project.
Yet, Dan Richard, the chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, is confident that the bullet train will still be built, despite the slow progress in purchasing the land required to construct its tracks.
“The voters are going to get exactly what they asked for,” Richard said. “We have never ever stepped away from that vision, not one inch.”
Californian voters have already approved a $10 billion bond for the train back in 2008, and the Obama administration offered nearly $3.3 billion in stimulus funds for the project. Furthermore, the state Legislature, in 2014, dedicated a portion of the greenhouse gas fees collected under the cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gases towards the train’s production.
Governor Jerry Brown, a strong supporter of the bullet train, is expected to attend the first groundbreaking ceremony for the project along with hundreds of other officials from across the area.
Ultimately, the bullet train will serve as a model for similar modes of transportation to be built around the country. California is specifically hoping to generate revenue from the project by offering advertising space and land to companies to construct their businesses around the forthcoming train stations.
Production, though slow, has already begun. Demolition took place last year in Fresno to begin laying track, but officials believe 2015 will offer far more in terms of productivity. A 28-mile stretch from Fresno to Madera will comprise the first leg of the journey, while the second phase, spanning 114-miles, will link Fresno to Bakersfield in the south. The first 520 miles are anticipated to be completed by 2029, linking San Francisco to the Los Angeles Basin.