Thinking Ahead: High-Speed Rail In Southern California

"Thinking Ahead: High-Speed Rail in Southern California," a new report released today by the Center for Urban Infrastructure, studies the benefits of an intercity high-speed rail system on southern California's economy.

"Just as the Interstate Highway System transformed the way Americans lived and where they worked in the 1950's, high-speed rail has the same transformative potential today," said Sarah L. Catz, author of the report.

According to the study, the California High-Speed Rail Project, which will ultimately link Sacramento to San Diego, will contribute a regional income benefit of $701 million to southern California workers. The report also states that, by 2035, high-speed rail could attract more than 127,000 new permanent jobs to southern California due to the region's increased livability and enhanced transportation network.

By providing an alternative to automobiles, Catz aruges, high-speed rail will be a major catalyst for expansion of southern California's emerging "green" economy and will prevent the emission of nearly half a billion pounds of CO2 annually by 2035.

The report examines high-speed rail's impact in relation to recent legislative initiatives that mandate a reduction in statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (AB 32), and the coordination of regional land use and transportation planning (SB 375) in support of those reduction targets. It also  explores strategies needed to ensure that cities around the region benefit from the $2.34 billion investment made in California from federal stimulus funds, streamlining zoning and land use codes suitable for intensified development. The majority of federal funds granted to the state will be spent in southern California for construction of a high-speed rail line from Bakersfield to Fresno.

"Cities with a high-speed rail station will grow and transition into hubs of commerce," said Curt Pringle Anaheim mayor and chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA). "Regions with commuter connections to the high-speed rail system will take advantage of development opportunities. This study is a reminder that high-speed rail can provide communities tremendous opportunities to reinvent themselves, and prosper in the process."

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