Public Meetings Begin on LA-Anaheim High Speed Rail

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Two public meetings are scheduled in Orange County this week to discuss the latest design and impacts of a new, 30-mile stretch of railroad between Anaheim and Los Angeles.

The project is the southern end of the Anaheim-to-San Francisco high-speed rail system approved by voters in 2008, although speeds through Orange County won’t come near “bullet train” levels.

Wednesday’s meeting in Buena Park begins at 5:30 pm at the Buena Park High School Gymnasium. Thursday’s meeting in Anaheim is at 5:30 pm at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC).

Translation in Spanish and Tagalog is available at both meetings. Korean translation is also available the Buena Park meeting.

The meetings are part of a key environmental review process that, once complete, will allow the California High Speed Rail Authority to begin acquiring land along that section of the rail line, said spokeswoman Adeline Yee. A draft environmental impact report will be ready in November and the final report is expected to be complete in November 2018.

Although it’s called high-speed rail, the train will only reach its full speed of over 200 miles per hour in some sections in the Central Valley.

Yee said trains running between Los Angeles and Anaheim will be designed to run at 110 miles per hour, but would operate at closer to 90 miles per hour because of safety concerns.

Officials say the first phase of the rail system will open by 2029, but the project already has been delayed by three years and cost estimates have ballooned from the $40 billion advertised to voters in 2008 to nearly $64 billion today.

At least one preliminary forecast suggests the project will be years behind schedule and cost far more than the agency initially stated.

In January, the Los Angeles Times reported a risk analysis by the Federal Railroad Administration projected a $9.5 billion to $10 billion cost for a 118-mile section of the railway through the Central Valley, $3.6 billion more than the original projected budget.

The High Speed Rail Authority also projected finishing tracks in the Central Valley by this year, but the federal analysis suggested that wouldn’t happen for another seven years, in 2024.

Another potential obstacle cropped up in February when opponents of the high speed rail project filed a lawsuit alleging the legislature violated the state constitution when it passed a law last year amending the $9 billion bond act approved by voters in 2008.

The lawsuit, like others in the past, could block the state from accessing that bond money and potentially delay construction even more, according to the LA Times.

In addition to those financing problems, the project faces staunch political opposition from California Republicans.

Shortly after President Donald J. Trump took office in January, Republican congressional representatives sent a letter to the Department of Transportation urging it to halt federal grant money for the Bay Area corridor until the project is audited.

In Orange County, with the exception of officials in Anaheim following the lead of former Mayor Curt Pringle, who is a one-time chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority Board, the project has not had a warm welcome.

In 2012 the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to endorse a bill by then Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) to stop state spending for the train system.

The city of Orange also voted in July 2010 to oppose the project, citing concerns that taxpayers would end up paying for it.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • LFOldTimer

    Well, the liberal democrats in SacTown passed the $52 BILLIION dollar gas and auto tax on the California taxpayers. ha.

    But of course the common liberal will applaud and champion their decision. lol. And a large chunk of that money will be used to fund the Train to Nowhere that nobody will ride!!!

    Another BIG win for BIG business. lol.

    Another BIG loss for the common taxpayer.

    But go ahead and rationalize it, all you dyed in the wool liberals. Tell us how more taxes in a state that is already taxed to death is a good thing!!! HA!

  • LFOldTimer

    Governor Moonbeam and his legislative liberal hit team intend to slap another $0.18 per gallon tax on your gasoline to pay for this goofy Train to Nowhere that the common resident won’t be able to afford a ticket to board. ha. California already has the HIGHEST taxed gasoline in the nation!!!

    Plus, Moonbeam is going to slap another 25% or more to your vehicle registration fee. ha. If you own a hybrid you’re going to get dinged $100-$200 as well. And you thought you were going to get a break? ha.

    At the same time Mooney is going to give FREE CIVIL LEGAL COUNSEL to illegal aliens who are in the process of being deported by ICE!!! Even criminal illegals who have committed crimes like assault and battery, car theft, DUI’s, r*pe by intoxication, vehicular manslaughter, robbery, etc… will be entitled to FREE CIVIL ATTORNEYS to jam up the courts and remain in America to fight their deportation orders!!! lol.

    As a citizen go petition the government to provide you with an FREE CIVIL ATTORNEY next time you’re in need!!! See what they tell you!!! HA!

    You could take a flight from LAX to San Francisco at 1/3 the cost of a ticket on the Train to Nowhere and arrive in San Francisco 4 hours sooner. ha.

    They call it the 200 mph train. But it would be IMPOSSIBLE to travel that fast through high density urban areas that exist from Anaheim to LA. Even a 4th grader should be able to figure that out. The trip from Anaheim to LA won’t be much faster than what you experience today on AMTRAC.

    The Train to Nowhere is a dummycrat scam to solicit more legal bribes from all the construction companies that will make a killing building this worthless train that will put the state in deeper debt.

    That’s why Moonbeam needs to lay more taxes on you – TO PAY FOR THE SCAM.

    You’re about to get fleeced once again. You just gotta love those liberal dummycrats!!!! LOL!

  • David Zenger

    “Thursday’s meeting in Anaheim is at 5:30 pm at the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC).”

    Well what do you know.

    The Smash N’ Grab Club finally found a use for ARTIC – holding public meetings for HSR. Although the venue might not be the best idea given the ugly $200,000,000 boondoggle slap-in-the-face that thing represents.

    Anaheim taxpayers pony up $5,000,000 a year to keep the Armadillo all lit up.

    • RyanCantor

      Well, at least they have plenty of room AND free parking.

      Nevermind getting the train under the freeway bit. Nevermind that at all.