From the ABC30 Archives: High Speed Rail check presentation in 2010 stipulated a September 30, 2017 deadline

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On October 21st, 2010 the Obama administration sent its Federal Railroad Administrator, Joseph Szabo, to the Fresno Economic Development Corporation's annual event. (2010 File Footage) (KFSN)

On October 21st, 2010 the Obama administration sent its Federal Railroad Administrator, Joseph Szabo, to the Fresno Economic Development Corporation's annual event in Downtown Fresno.

Szabo was happy to bring a check in the amount of $715 million in federal funds for Valley high-speed rail.

In a news release shortly after the event Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) wrote, "?High-speed rail means more jobs and economic opportunity for the Valley. That?s why I authored the original bond measure and fought for these funds. Our years of hard work have paid off and the Valley will kick-off construction of our nation?s first high-speed rail system. I applaud the commitment of Secretary Ray LaHood and the Administration to make this project a reality."

A few months later, at a High-Speed Rail forum in Los Angeles, the agenda packet contained a drop-dead date to have the funds spent and the project well underway. That date, September 30th, 2017. The exact phrasing used in the materials handed out in Los Angeles read, "ARRA-funded initial construction section must be completed by September 30, 2017."

Fast forward to now, and after a series of court challenges to the project things have slowed down from the enthusiasm presented in Fresno back in 2010. Back in March of this year, a Superior Judge in Sacramento County rejected the latest attempt by Kings County and other opponents to stall the project.

In July, Governor Brown's bullet train ran into another legal hurdle when the California Supreme Court ruled federal law does not exempt state rail projects from California's strict environmental review law. The High-Speed Rail Authority had claimed Federal law trumps California's environmental quality act, but the high court overturned a lower court ruling saying the lower court had interpreted the federal law too broadly.

The High Speed Rail website lists the current deadlines as:

1) The Phase 1 system will ultimately connect the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin via the Central Valley and will be sequenced to maximize current federal and state dollars and deliver the earliest operating high-speed rail line by 2029.

2) The Silicon Valley to Central Valle Line will connect San Jose to just north of Bakersfield and is anticipated to be operational by 2025. The program is also actively seeking additional funds to extend the initial line to San Francisco and Bakersfield, as well as complete a connection to Merced.

Related Topics:
societyfresnohigh speed railFresno - Downtown
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