Officials approve SF-LA rail routes through San Fernando Valley amid opposition

Train will run through Sylmar, Pacoima, Sun Valley, and Angeles National Forest

A rendering of a California High Speed Rail train traveling through Burbank
A rendering of a California High Speed Rail train traveling through Burbank

Construction on the $77 billion high-speed rail linking northern and southern California is well underway, and now its governing body has narrowed down a route through L.A.

The board of directors for the California High Speed Rail Authority unanimously endorsed on Thursday routes for three segments of the line totaling 82 miles between Palmdale and Anaheim, according to Curbed. The routes include stops in Burbank, Downtown L.A., Norwalk, and Fullerton.

The choice of routes is not without its critics. The route will be mostly underground between Palmdale and Burbank, but one section would run above ground through part of the San Fernando Valley. Residents around the above-ground portions of the route spoke out against it at the meeting on Thursday.

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An aide to U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, who represents most of the northern Valley, said Schiff had “profound concerns” about the route, which goes through Sylmar, Pacoima, Sun Valley, and the Angeles National Forest.

The segments are projected to cost up to $28.7 billion each. But considering the ballooning costs of the entire north-south rail project, that cost will likely go up. The initial estimate for the project was $64 billion and have since risen to $77 billion.

When finished sometime in the next few decades, passengers could go from San Francisco to DTLA in two hours and 40 minutes. Planing started a decade ago after voters approved a ballot proposition supporting the railway.

The north-south high speed rail isn’t the only such project planned to pass through L.A. In September, a Florida company bought the “XpressWest” project that would link Las Vegas and Southern California. The company wants to break ground next year and start service by 2022. [Curbed] – Dennis Lynch