California just broke ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail system, ushering in a new era of efficient, eco-friendly transportation! The railway will enable riders to travel faster than a Ferrari once it’s completed: at 220 miles an hour, a passenger will be able to travel from northern to southern California in just three hours. The first segment is being built in Fresno, and by 2029 the system will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles. After that, the system will continue to Sacramento and San Diego, adding 24 stops to the rail.
The $68 billion rail system, which was approved by voters in 2008, will help end congestion on roadways and clear the air, said Diana Gomez of the High-Speed Rail Authority. “Our goal is to have a train running from San Francisco to Los Angeles,” she said. Building of the rail, Gomez said, will begin in the Central Valley, allowing the construction teams to get more miles built there. Then testing of the rail can begin. Unfortunately, some neighborhoods of the larger cities may not survive the construction.
“We will not survive this project,” said Kathy Omachi of the Chinatown Revitalization project. Some buildings and parts of that neighborhood are slated for demolition once the project reaches the area.
Still, most believe that the sacrifice is worth it. Governor Jerry Brown has been a vocal advocate of the system as well. According to the High-Speed Rail Authority, in addition to the environmental and traffic benefits, the construction of the high-speed rail system will generate 20,000 jobs every year for five years. After that, up to 67,000 jobs will be created annually as the railway expands, with the need for both private and public sector jobs to run the system.
Photos via Flickr/California High Speed Rail Authority