In 2008, California voters authorized $10 billion worth of bonds to build the first leg of a $40 billion, 200 mph high-speed rail system to join the state’s largest cities. Originally, the plan was to start with two sections: one from Anaheim to Los Angeles and another from San Francisco to San Jose. These segments would be useful on their own and would eventually become part of the entire system. But now, due to strings attached to federal funds, it looks like the first leg of the project will consist of a 65-mile track from Madera to Corcoran. Critics fear the project will go bust, leaving the state with an expensive and all-but-useless track in the middle of the Central Valley. Supporters say they have to start someplace and this section makes the most sense from a financial and engineering standpoint. Either way, the California High Speed Rail Authority Board will vote on it tomorrow.
Dan Walters, political columnist for the Sacramento Bee
Dean Florez, formerly Senate Majority Leader from District 16 in the Central Valley, long-time supporter of the project and formerly a high speed rail commissioner
Steve Geil, CEO of the Economic Development Corporation Serving Fresno County