We understand that the Federal Railroad Administration plans to re-allocate HSR funds that Florida has refused to accept. California is among the states vying for a share of the $2.4 billion available.
In November of 2009, California was poised to apply for federal funds for improvement of its three intercity rail corridors as well as for the high-speed rail project. As reported as the lead story in the LA Times on November 13, 2009, “Schwarzenegger quietly quashed effort to improve commuter (and intercity) rails.” The entire application of $1.1 billion by Caltrans Division of Rail for rail cars and track/signal improvements was never even applied for as per the Governor’s last-minute directive.
Unlike the high-speed rail project, almost all of the projects Caltrans was to apply for were and are shovel ready. Again today, both Caltrans and the High Speed Rail Authority will apply for the available funds, with applications due April 4th. The California state passenger rail corridors are themselves vital components of the High Speed Rail Program. It is a mistake to direct all available resources to the High Speed Rail program alone. The infusion of funds to the state corridors will provide immediate employment to construction workers as well as laying important building blocks upon which the state rail system will thrive whether true high speed rail is built or not.