First of Its Kind Analysis Finds High-Speed Train System Accommodates More Economic Growth on Less Land Than Alternative Transportation Options.
OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 25, 2003
Preliminary findings of economic growth study show that a high-speed train system is more economically efficient at handling California's projected population growth and consumes less land than expanding existing transportation modes. The analysis - one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken -- was conducted by Cambridge Systematics, Inc., and presented to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board during its monthly public meeting held yesterday at the Elihu Harris Building in Oakland.
The study compares the economic impacts of three potential transportation scenarios for managing the expected 54 percent growth in California's population between 2002 and 2035.
"Californians will ultimately have to decide if and how they want to plan for the state's inevitable population growth," said Rod Diridon, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board. "This study will provide a comprehensive look at their options -- 1) do not build any additional transportation infrastructure than what's already on the books; 2) expand existing freeways and airports, or; 3) build a high-speed train system."
The preliminary findings show that the high-speed train system creates more jobs, attracts more business and focuses growth creating less sprawl and uses less land than the other two alternatives. The high-speed train option provides the greatest opportunity for job growth by improving travel options and accessibility for Californians. According to the report, a high-speed train system will create 450,000 new jobs -- more than twice the amount projected under the option of expanding freeways and airports -- with the greatest employment spike projected for the Central Valley.
The study is one element of the environmental review process being undertaken to assess the technical feasibility of building the 700-mile bullet train system. The draft environmental report is expected to be released in August. A $9.95 billion bond issue currently is scheduled for the November 2004 statewide ballot to finance, with matching funds, the first phase of construction of the high-speed train system.
In other actions, board member Joseph Petrillo was named the Board's new chair and members Fran Florez and Jerry Epstein were named co-vice chairs, effective July 1, 2003. Mr. Petrillo is a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, a law firm in San Francisco and brings nearly 30 years of experience in land use and natural resources law. He is an appointee of Governor Gray Davis.
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the entity that operates CalTrain along the San Francisco Peninsula, to pursue shared use of the CalTrain corridor with the high-speed train system. A cooperative agreement with the Spanish Government for information sharing was also approved.
The Board approved for release on July 1, 2003, a request for proposal for public education and outreach services. A staff recommendation will be presented for the Board's approval during its meeting in September.