California Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny ruled against the California High Speed Rail Authority in two decisions announced on November 25. In the first, Judge Kenny ruled that the Business Plan failed to meet the requirements of the voter approved referendum under California Assembly Bill 3034 (2008), in not identifying sufficient capital funding for the first segment. As a result, the Business Plan needs to be redrafted. read more »
high speed rail
In a Daily Telegraph commentary, London Mayor Boris Johnson expects the proposed high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham (HS2) to cost £70 billion (approximately $105 billion). This is two thirds more than the most recent estimate of £42 billion (approximately $63 billion), which includes a recent increase in costs from £32 billion (approximately $48 billion) for the 140 mile long first segment. read more »
California's Governor Jerry Brown and an entourage of public officials and corporate executives has spent much of the last week traveling around China trying to drum up business for the state. One of his principal objectives is to entice Chinese investors to take a stake in the California high-speed rail project. From the Governor's perspective, this makes all sense in the world. read more »
Top GOP Budget Officials Call for Investigation of Xpress West High Speed Train from Victorville to Los Angeles
Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee and Sen. Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee have expressed serious reservations on the proposed taxpayer loan to the Xpress West high-speed rail line that would operate two thirds of the way between Los Angeles and Las Vegas (from Victorville). read more »
On October 19, an Amtrak passenger train hit 111 mph in a test run on a 15-mile stretch of track between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois. It was the first tangible return from a three-year $1.5 billion program of improvements funded under the Administration's high-speed rail initiative. The program hopes to shave about an hour off the 5 ½ hour rail trip between Chicago and St. Louis. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn who were aboard, called it a "historic" event. read more »
Last year, in congressional testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on high speed rail, we cited the Chicago-to-St.Louis "high-speed rail" project as an example of the Administration's wasteful use of its economic stimulus money. We pointed out that the $1.4 billion program of track upgrades will allow top speed of 110 mph but will raise average speeds of Amtrak trains between Chicago and St. Louis by only 10 miles per hour, from 53 to 63 mph. read more »
In an article entitled Fourth Time Unlucky, The Economist wonders why Brazil, with "a long list of more worthwhile infrastructure projects", does not dismiss high speed rail "out of hand."
After three unsuccessful attempts to attract international bidders to build its Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo and Campinas line for a bargain basement price, the nation has decided that taxpayers will foot some (probably all) of the bill.
The Economist continues: read more »
The Central Japan Railway (Note 1), which operates one of only two high-speed rail segments (Tokyo Station to Osaka Station) in the world that has been fully profitable (including the cost of building), proposes to build a line from Dallas to Houston, with top speeds of 205 miles per hour. This is slightly faster than the fastest speeds now operated. This line is radically different from others proposed around the nation and most that have been proposed around the world. read more »
The Reason Foundation has released our "Xpress West" (formerly "DesertXpress") analysis. This high speed rail train would run from Victorville (90 miles from downtown Los Angeles) to Las Vegas. Promoters predict high ridership and profits. They are seeking a subsidized federal loan of more than $5.5 billion, which is within the discretionary authority of the US Department of Transportation to fund.
Our analysis concludes the following: read more »
Decidedly, early June has not been the best of times for the California high-speed rail project. read more »