High-Speed Rail: Good for the State, Good for the Environment

California is the most populous state in the nation, and third-largest in area, at over 160,000 square miles with more than 50,000 miles of roads, over 100 airports and thousands of miles of conventional rail systems crisscrossing the state.

However, the Golden State’s transportation systems, some built at the turn of the century, are aging and cannot keep up with the demands of a growing population that is expected to hit 50 million by 2030. The congestion is costing Californians time and money. According to the Texas Transportation Institute’s 2012 Annual Urban Mobility Report (link to report), congestion on roads and highways in California’s urban areas resulted in over $19 billion in economic activity lost in 2011 alone. In addition, the flight between Los Angeles to San Francisco is the busiest short-haul market in the country, with hundreds of daily flights and five million annual passengers, but delayed 25% of the time.

California high-speed rail will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agri­cultural and protected lands. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is overseeing the implementation of a statewide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is committed to building a high-speed rail system that minimizes impacts to the natural and built environment, encourages compact land development around transit stations, and helps California manage pressing issues with climate change, traffic and airport congestion and energy dependency. Not only will the high-speed rail system alleviate pressure on California’s current transportation system, it will provide immediate and long-term environmental and community benefits to residents for decades to come.