California’s High-Speed Rail: Construction Begins, But the Debate Rages On

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In 2008, California voters approved $9.9 billion for a high-speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Now, the projected cost is $68 billion, and public support has been declining. Faced with a race for re-election in November, Governor Jerry Brown is as enthusiastic as ever, while his Republican opponent, Neel Kashkari calls it the “crazy train.” James Fallows is national correspondent for the Atlantic magazine. He’s written a 7-part series calling California’s high-speed rail the most important infrastructure project in the nation.

Despite lawsuits filed by Central Valley farmers, buildings already are being knocked down in Fresno to make way for high-speed rail construction. Last week, an appellate court ruled unanimously that the High Speed Rail Authority can begin to sell bonds to finance it. And tomorrow, the Authority will review the use of cap-and-trade money to pay the bills. But the tracks, to use an appropriate metaphor, are by no means clear. Carla Marinucci reports on politics for the San Francisco Chronicle.