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High-Speed Rail Leaders Voice Guarded Optimism At SF Conference

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California High-Speed Rail

Rendering of a high-speed rail train. (CA High-Speed Rail Authority)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Leaders in the global high-speed rail industry are concerned that if California’s bullet train plan fails or is delayed, it could affect future plans for the rest of the country.

That was the sentiment at the United States High-Speed Rail Association Conference, which is being held in San Francisco this week.

KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

“I want to thank Governor Brown and the California High-Speed Rail Authority for bringing forth a new business plan that really responds to the earlier criticisms and sets us on the right track,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Despite that optimism, Lee said he understands the magnitude of the project and importance of it’s success for both California and the nation.

“It’s a huge infrastructure but it’s absolutely necessary for our future,” he said.

The project will come to a head on July 1 when the state legislature decides on whether to come up with more than $3 billion in funds for high-speed rail. If the state doesn’t come up with the funding, it will lose another $3 billion in matching federal funds.

“There’s already a lot of support. The governor is fully supportive of it,” said U.S. High-Speed Rail Association President Andy Kunz. “Much of the state legislature is supportive of it. It’s a matter of them really focusing on and understanding the deadline and that if they miss the deadline, they could actually lose their federal funding.”

The conference continues through Thursday in San Francisco.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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