SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A big win for the Bay Area comes at the expense of Los Angeles this Friday when officials are expected to announce that the initial leg of the high-speed rail project will run from San Jose to Bakersfield.
The bullet train will travel the 250-mile stretch between the two cities, linking Silicon Valley’s high-paying jobs with the Central Valley’s low cost of living, all with the promise of a quick, convenient commute.
The California High-Speed Rail Project could transform the Bay Area’s transportation system.
“The High-Speed Rail Authority had a tough decision to make between two great regions — LA and San Jose,” said Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino. “But they needed to start with one, and that was more cost effective and time efficient.”
Although it won’t be officially announced until Friday, Northern California has managed to leapfrog ahead of Los Angeles in line for the first leg of the $64 billion high-speed rail system.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said the economic impact of the rail line would be enormous.
“We’re ready for high-speed rail,” said Liccardo. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity not only for our downtown but for the entire region.”
With congestion and gridlock getting worse by the day, commuters say they’re eager for more transportation options.
“I take the train every day. I think trains are good things,” said Commuter Steve Zowa. “But whether or not people want to take a train to the Central Valley is another question.”
But there is some solid reasoning why they might. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median price for a house in San Jose topped $900,000 last year. Compare that to roughly $200,000 in Bakersfield, where the line would begin.
“I know the $64 billion price tag sounds big, but cars aren’t sustainable. So rail offers a good alternative,” said commuter Corey Smith.
High-speed rail is on track to reach the Bay Area in a decade, potentially changing where we live, where we work and how we get there.