Slowly but surely, construction on California’s high-speed rail system is chugging along.
The New York Times reports construction sites are up in 21 locations across Central California with 2,000 workers on the job and two weeks ago, work began on a freeway overpass for the train in Fresno. Construction is expected to begin on three more viaducts in the next couple of months.
But while progress is progress if you’re an advocate of the project, many of the same concerns that have dogged the bullet train since it was proposed still exist in the minds of critics— ballooning cost to the taxpayer, logistical issues surrounding where and how the train is built to run through existing landscape and cities, and fears of bad return on investment.
Adding to those concerns is the fact that it’s unclear whether California’s new governor, whomever that may be, will continue being a vocal supporter of the project, which has been a high priority for Governor Jerry Brown during his administration. Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has given mixed signals about his stance on the project Republican candidate John Cox has said he would halt the project if elected.
Is it time for the state of California to consider walking away from the bullet train project? Or has the state already gone too far to turn back?
Dan Richard, chair of the Board of Directors for the California High Speed Rail Authority
James Moore, professor of industrial, systems and civil engineering and director of the Transportation Engineering Program at USC