SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – The state should not change its plan for high speed rail despite concerns raised by the nonpartisan legislative analyst, according to experts who insisted that critics do not understand the nuances of building bullet trains in California.

“Making a change at this stage is extremely detrimental to the project,” said Roelef Van Ark, CEO of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Van Ark responded to blistering criticism from the state legislative analyst, who questioned the flexibility of federal funding guidelines that led rail construction to begin in the Central Valley.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Beginning construction in Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco would cost billions more, Van Ark told the Senate Select Committee on High Speed Rail.

Legislative analyst Mac Taylor recommended scrapping the Central Valley segment in favor of an area with more passengers such as Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Taylor also urged the state to disband the California High-Speed Rail Authority and turn the project over to Caltrans.

Former Caltrans director Will Kempton, who led a separate review of the rail project, concurred with some of Taylor’s findings.

Kempton testified that the rail authority needs more staff, more funding sources and a better business model. But in his view, none of those concerns should delay the project.

“We should move full steam ahead, trying to accommodate those guidelines that have been provided in order to take advantage of the federal funding,” Kempton said.

Exactly where to build the high speed line has been a controversial subject, particularly on the Peninsula, since voters approved Prop 1A, a $10 billion bond in 2008 to help fund construction.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. mechanic says:

    You have to be kidding me(??) This VanArk guy and all the others that are in line to milk BILLION$ from this cash cow will fight hard to get it done ….. or even partially done! Another HUGE BOONDOGGLE that needs to be stopped before it even gets started. You WILL be sorry if this thing keeps rolling. “Kill it before it multiplies”!!

  2. genomega1 says:

    Who is going to pay for all of the lawsuits that the usual suspects will file?

  3. Ken A. says:

    Start this thing in San Francisco, PERIOD. The World will recognize the City and the State as having entered the 21st Century. The “Valley” Project will be seen by no one and has no TOURIST value at all. Add to it intill it finally gets to Los Angeles some year in the Future. We have the Highest need for it in the Bay Area and as we all know, it might be expensive to start it here, but it will also never be cheaper than it is today. We are going to have MASSIVE TOURIST traffic in the years following the “AMERICA’s CUP” Event. Start it in San Francisco and stop the bickering. Start it as soon as possible, we need the JOBS.

  4. Mad Mike says:

    I have to find the comments of Ken A. laughable. He must work for the CHSRA. “massive tourist traffic in the years following the America’s Cup”, really? A boat race for billionaires is going to provide years of tourism? Shows the desperation these guys who support this thing are feeling. We have high speed rail to LA, it is called a JET AIRPLANE!

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