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October 11, 2011 > High-speed rail delays release of business plan

High-speed rail delays release of business plan

Submitted By Rachel Wall

Board Chairman Tom Umberg today directed California High-Speed Rail Authority staff to postpone its planned release of the business plan until at least November 1, 2011, to give Gov. Jerry Brown's new appointees a chance to fully immerse themselves in the plan and offer their own feedback.

"The California High-Speed Rail Authority has put together an extensive business plan that comprehensively addresses the future of this project," Umberg said. "At the same time, we have new appointees to the Board who weren't able to be a part of its development. This postponement will give them the necessary time to participate."

Staff at the California High-Speed Rail Authority had originally set October 14, 2011, as a working deadline, though it was not a requirement and does not otherwise affect the project's schedule but that was before the Governor's appointment of two new members to the Board, Dan Richard and Michael Rossi.

Additionally, Will Kempton, former director of the California Department of Transportation and a peer reviewer of the project, wrote in a letter dated September 16, 2011, that "Very frankly, our experience with projects of this type has shown that patience and careful planning at the beginning always pay off in the end."

"I look forward to having this extra time to delve into the business plan, which numbers in the hundreds of pages, and take a close look at the funding, ridership and implementation information it presents," Richard said. "Governor Brown, the Legislature and all Californians will be well-served by a plan that lays the foundation for the future of this sorely needed transportation option."

The November 1, 2011, publication of the plan will commence a 60-day public comment period, which includes public meetings to be scheduled in November and December 2011.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is developing an 800-mile high-speed train system that will operate at speeds of up to 220 miles per hour, connecting the state's major urban centers, including the Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego. Initial infrastructure construction will begin in the Central Valley, the backbone of the system, in 2012. The project is being funded through a voter-approved state bond, federal funding grants, local funding, and public-private partnerships.

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