Bullet train project to LA County gets nod, with potential to draw real estate
80-mile stretch would connect Bakersfield to Palmdale at cost of $20B
UPDATED, Aug. 24, 10:55 a.m.: An 80-mile stretch of California’s bullet train project that would touch northern Los Angeles County — and that promises to attract real estate development — took another step forward.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority signed off on that section of rail, at an estimated cost of just under $20 billion, according to Streetsblog Cal.
The governing body approved the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the chunk of rail between Bakersfield in Kern County and Palmdale in L.A. County, the report noted.
The section would cross the Tehachapi Mountains via nine tunnels totaling more than 10 miles and 15 miles of aerial structures.
The Bakersfield to Palmdale stretch requires several more approvals before workers can break ground and is also short of funding. If built, the wider rail would connect San Francisco and Sacramento at its north end, to Anaheim and San Diego at its south end.
From Palmdale, the rail would run through the San Fernando Valley with stops in Burbank, Downtown L.A., and two others before terminating in Anaheim. The second phase of the rail would run east through the Inland Empire, before turning south toward San Diego.
The project has faced numerous delays and ballooning costs over the years.
The state legislature has yet to release $4.2 billion in bond funding to complete the Merced-Bakersfield section that is currently the only section under construction.
Gov. Gavin Newsom put the wider project on hold shortly after taking office in early 2019 to focus on the Merced-Bakersfield portion.
[SC] — Dennis Lynch
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the California High-Speed Rail Authority signed off on an 82-mile stretch of rail. An official with CAHSR said the number is 80 miles.