U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced that the federal government will reallocate any high-speed rail grant moneys rejected by states that have already received allocations. Many recently elected Republican governors ran on platforms that included opposition to high-speed rail. These critics maintain that high-speed rail will not attract sufficient ridership to justify the billions of dollars necessary to create a viable infrastructure, especially during a severe recession.
Many governors, including California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, remain committed to the future of high-speed rail. In a recent letter to LaHood, Governor Schwarzenegger expressed “astonishment” at the other governors’ rejection of their respective high-speed rail programs and stated “[i]f other states refuse your support, we would certainly welcome their shares – particularly as we continue to demonstrate how well those dollars will be spent in our great State.”
Since 2009, the federal government has announced over $10 billion in grant moneys for high-speed rail, of which California has been awarded $3 billion. California’s high-speed rail is expected to initially run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and later to Sacramento and San Diego. The trains are expected to travel at speeds of up to 220 mph, and the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco is expected to take less than 2 hours and 40 minutes.