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High-speed rail study approved

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week A $9.95 billion state bond measure for the project is scheduled to be put before California voters in November 2006. However, there is a bill pending in the state Legislature to push that vote back to 2008. Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, said given the state’s bond indebtedness, the train system must be deferred in favor of other priorities. “We have some big issues with transportation and infrastructure,” Runner said. “We need to have safe highways to drive on.” Although the Rail Authority has not taken a formal position on such a delay, individual board members, including Donna Andrews and Joseph Petrillo, have spoken out against pushing back the vote, arguing that it would increase the project’s cost. Rail Authority spokeswoman Kris Deutschman said if the bond vote were to pass, there would still be several months before the bonds would be used. PALMDALE – A proposed high-speed rail system that would run through the Antelope Valley reached a milestone Wednesday with the approval of the project’s environmental study. Meeting in Sacramento, the California High-Speed Rail Authority board voted 6-0 to approve the environmental impact report for the 700-mile system running from San Diego to Sacramento. The next step will be a separate environmental study for the controversial corridor linking the San Francisco Bay to the Central Valley. Also to be done are more-detailed environmental studies for each segment of the system, looking at where stations would be built and where rail lines would actually be placed. At an estimated $37 billion, the system would be one of the most expensive public works projects in U.S. history. “Passing the bonds shows that the project is moving forward,” Deutschman said. “That would help in attracting private partners.” After years of lobbying, Antelope Valley officials were successful in getting the Rail Authority to plan the route between Bakersfield and Los Angeles through the high desert rather than along Interstate 5. The proposed Antelope Valley alignment would follow Highway 58 from Bakersfield to Mojave, then run south along the Union Pacific railroad tracks through Lancaster, Palmdale and Soledad Canyon. Palmdale has spent nearly $600,000 studying and promoting the Antelope Valley route, which officials say would add just a few minutes to travel time but would serve 750,000 more residents than along Interstate 5. The officials also argued that the route would not require tunneling or raise as many environmental concerns as a rail line over the Grapevine. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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