high speed rail

On Tuesday, San Jose City Council met with a modest public attendance who listened intently on a plan that could forever change travel on the western seaboard. 

An advocate for the California High-Speed Rail Project proposed a move that could ease both car and air traffic in the Los Angeles and San Diego metroplex. 

David Swagel, a representative of the California High-Speed Rail Authority was one of three speakers at the council meeting. 

“I made a 140-mile journey today to encourage decision making on SJC from the context of a complete transportation system that is going to be made possible once High-Speed Rail comes to town,” Swagel said. 

Swagel was referring to his agency’s plan to get the city to back plans to begin construction of the California High-Speed Rail north toward San Jose and then back down to Southern California.

“That will mean is that Seattle is actually going to jump to No. 1 ahead of Los Angeles and San Diego, to be the most popular destination out of SJC.”

Swagel’s plan hinges on the prospect that if any enough Californians use the High-Speed Rail to travel to destinations, such as Los Angeles and San Diego, that the cities’ respective airports will be substantially less congested.

The High-Speed Rail to connect the SJC proposal would also lead to a rise of client and increased utilization of northern California’s lesser used airports.

These include Sacramento International Airport, Monterey Regional Airport and Sonoma County Airport. 

After hearing Swagel’s pitch, the council voted unanimously to pass the proposition along for further review, pending approval. 

While city council representatives appeared to favor the plan, other Northern Californians are hesitant to connect a high-speed rail system to an already densely populated south bay metroplex. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that the High-Speed Rail project was projected to cost taxpayers $13 billion. 

In March 2018, the California state rail authority announced that the project would cost $77.3 billion.

“Initially a rathole, now a sinkhole, soon it will be an abyss in which more and more tax dollars are forever lost,” former state senator Andy Vidak said. “I speak of the never-ending scam called High-Speed Rail.”

Despite the opposition, support for the rail project remains favored in the South Bay Metroplex. 

In May 2018, the California High-Speed Rail Authority met in San Jose and adopted their comprehensive 2018 business plan. 

The business plan outlines that the project will continue as planned to begin the placement of rail in the central valley and then gravitate northward toward San Jose before clearing land for rails in Southern California. 

The city’s paramount role to the project was evidenced by both by the venue of the meeting as well as Swagel’s closing remarks. 

“I was one of the many that told the High-Speed Rail Authority to please build north to San Jose….it was crucial to have the conference in San Jose and [for the authority] to see the explosion of new technologies.”

The California high-speed rail is scheduled for completion in 2029 and will have 29 stations across the state. 

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