The state of California will receive up to $2.24 billion in federal stimulus funding for a new high-speed train project headed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), which will connect from San Diego to San Francisco with stops in several major cities including Anaheim, Irvine, Riverside, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno and Sacramento.
The high-speed train can travel up to 220 mph and cover a 520-mile route, according to the White House Press Secretary. The billion-dollar investment is expected to create and save a countless jobs over time in areas such as track laying, manufacturing, planning, engineering, rail maintenance and operations.
â€œWe have come together because the building of a high-speed train system in California will create sustainable green jobs, spur economic growth and protect our environment.â€ State Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani, author of the “High-Speed Rail Bond”, said.
â€œFederal funds would be put to use right away in California, consistent with the president’s vision on an immediate economic stimulus program,â€ Galgiani added.
Not only will the high-speed train project save jobs, money and time, it will help dilute the dependency on fossil fuels and cut down on pollution. Even though students are always trying to save money, time and give a helping hand to the environment, a few oppose the project.
â€œI think it is a stupid idea that we are even getting this train. We have so many different problems going on, we do not need this,â€ history major, Michelle Bower, 27, said. â€œI think this is just another way for the government to spend our tax money.â€
Diego Gutierrez, political science major, has a different opinion.
â€œOn a personal level, I think it is a great project and can benefit California jobs, business and tourism,â€ said Gutierrez.
State Assembly Member Galgiani and Vice President Joe Biden anticipate construction to begin even though a small number of people oppose the idea.
â€œI think this project got off track,â€ said 37-year-old economics major, Dennis McGinley. â€œThis whole thing about the rails gave me a splitting headache, the construction of this may start in a predicted three years, and I really think we should focus our time elsewhere other than transportation.â€
â€œBy investing in (a) high-speed rail, weâ€™re doing so many good things for our country at the same time,â€ said Vice President Biden. â€œWeâ€™re creating good construction and manufacturing jobs in the near-term; weâ€™re spurring economic development in the future; weâ€™re making our communities more livable â€“ and weâ€™re doing it all while decreasing Americaâ€™s environmental impact and increasing Americaâ€™s ability to compete in the world.â€
Due to California having a 12.1 percent unemployment rate, lack of new jobs, higher tuition and gas prices, more public transportation may be ideal because of the cost and speed.
â€œI feel safer in a train rather than a car,â€ Gutierrez said. â€œI use public transportation whenever I can and I like it, but I think we just need more routes and ways of movement.â€
The new high-speed trains are going to be a large, seemingly efficient way to stimulate the economy and help people cut down on travel expenses. According to Cahighspeedrail.ca.gov, a person traveling 465 miles from Anaheim to San Francisco â€“ in less than three hours â€“ can cut their travel expenses to only $58 on the high-speed train. A car traveling 465 miles would cost $93, and air fare would be $110.
â€œI would use the train. I think it would help people travel to work and other places for a cheaper price,â€ Bower admits. â€œI am a student, so cutting down time and money is a no-brainier. When it is done, I am not going to stay away from it.â€
Putting people to work in planning or managing the new high-speed train station could help the economy generate revenue and spur economic development in the future.
â€œConstruction will begin in 2011. The high-speed trains should be finished in 2020, this is with all the connections to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anaheim, Irvine, Riverside, Bakersfield, Fresno and Sacramento,â€ said Senior Consultant to Assembly Member Galgiani, Robin Adam.
â€œWith the high-speed train, we are going to stimulate economic growth and the movement of people,â€ Gutierrez said. â€œThe high-speed train will save me money on travel, which will able me to stimulate the economy.â€