[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
72°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 21
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]


| Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019
Construction continues on an elevated section of high-speed rail track near downtown Fresno, California. | Photo: Matthew Renda/CNS.
Construction continues on an elevated section of high-speed rail track near downtown Fresno, California. | Photo: Matthew Renda/CNS.

 

By Matthew Renda

The California High-Speed Rail Authority indicated Tuesday it is likely to recommend approval of interim rail service connecting Central Valley cities before expanding the service to Los Angeles and San Francisco as funding becomes available.

“Our early train operator has indicated there are some worthwhile interim services that use federal and state funds to demonstrate the benefits of high-speed rail in California,” said Barbara Rooney, deputy director of legislation for the authority, during a board meeting Tuesday. “We are prepared to offer four alternatives, one of which includes providing service from Bakersfield to Fresno to Merced.”

Rooney said when authority staff submits the highly anticipated Project Update Report in the coming months, they are unlikely to recommend pursuing a “Valley-to-Valley” line connecting the Central Valley to Silicon Valley until the appropriate amount of funding is in place.

“We can only do what we can afford,” Rooney said. “We should not commit to outcomes we cannot provide funding for.”

For proponents of high-speed rail in California, the news does not bode well for the project’s future. Critics contend ridership between the three Central Valley cities will be insufficient to warrant the enormous taxpayer cost. They say such a plan also falls well short of a constitutional mandate to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with a rail journey of under 2½ hours.

But Governor Gavin Newsom, who inherited the project, asked the authority to reconsider its original ambitious designs and instead focus on getting rail service in the Central Valley up and running.

“I think the governor has asked us to take a pause and look at alternatives for what we are doing,” said rail authority board member Ernesto Camacho.

After Newsom’s indication he would seek a scaled-down version of the project, the Trump administration demanded as much as $2.5 billion in grants be returned to federal coffers.

The rail authority responded last month, telling the administration that such a clawback in funds would serve neither the state nor the federal government’s interests.

On Tuesday, Rooney said the rail authority has not received a response from the Federal Railroad Administration. High-speed rail has long been a focal point for Republican ire both at the state and federal level, with lawmakers and activists claiming the project is a boondoggle and there isn’t enough demand for rail service to warrant such an large public investment.

The project has been dogged by inefficiencies throughout its beginning stages, which span about a decade, with cost overruns, lawsuits and issues with eminent domain causing the overall cost estimate of the project to soar to $77 billion.

Rail authority board member Tom Richards said he expects staff to perform its due diligence before coming to the board with a recommendation to fundamentally alter the mission.

“I can’t state this firmly enough, but we need a very in-depth presentation supported by the work necessary to make a recommendation that is a major change in direction from where we have been in the past,” he said.

The rail authority’s early operator is German transportation firm DB Engineering, a subsidiary of that country’s railway giant Deutsche Bahn. The company said it found cost savings and efficiencies in infrastructure which will also be presented in the upcoming update report, Rooney said.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019
Future Remains Uncertain for Gibbon Conservation Center
The future of the Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) remains uncertain as efforts to reach an agreement with its current landlord have reached an impasse, according to a message released by the Center's Director, Gabriella Skollar.
Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019
Five Robbery Suspects Arrested at Newhall Metrolink Station
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested five robbery suspects at the Newhall Metrolink Station on Monday night.
Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) forecast, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley, San Gabriel Mountains, West San Gabriel Valley, East San Fernando Valley and West San Fernando Valley tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1961 - CalArts grad (MFA '92) and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob SquarePants, born in Oklahoma; developed prototype for Spongebob while studying at CalArts in 1989. Estimated net worth in 2012: $90 million [story]
The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC) meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 21, from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., at the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge.
Aug. 21: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
LANCASTER - Under the direction of first-year head coach Nicole Brouillard, the University of Antelope Valley women’s volleyball program will look to improve its record during the 2019 season after finishing its 2018 campaign with a 5-25 (.167) overall record and a 5-11 (.313) California Pacific Conference mark, finishing eighth out nine teams in the conference standings.
UAV Women’s Volleyball Looking to Improve Record with New Head Coach
The eighth annual Comics for the Cause benefiting the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project will take place Thursday, Aug. 22, from 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m., at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center.
Aug. 22: Comics for the Cause Benefiting SCV Youth Project
Dearly beloved, we will gather at Central Park on Saturday, Aug. 24, for the final performance in this year’s Concerts in the Park series, presented by Logix Federal Credit Union.
‘Party Like It’s 1999’ at Final Concerts in the Park 2019 Series
Houssam Toutanji, who has served as dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Western Michigan University for the past four years, has been named dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Northridge.
CSUN’s College of Engineering & Computer Science Names New Dean
The next regular meeting of the William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board is set for Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 21 Meeting Agenda: Hart District Governing Board
The future of the Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) remains uncertain as efforts to reach an agreement with its current landlord have reached an impasse, according to a message released by the Center's Director, Gabriella Skollar.
Future Remains Uncertain for Gibbon Conservation Center
Come see linemen from each of Santa Clarita's six high school varsity teams race against time and each other to eat a four foot burrito on Tuesday, Aug. 20, from 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., on Town Center Drive at Westfield Valencia Town Center.
Fox Sports West Staff, NFL Players from Hart to Take Part in Burrito Bowl
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested five robbery suspects at the Newhall Metrolink Station on Monday night.
Five Robbery Suspects Arrested at Newhall Metrolink Station
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) forecast, air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley, San Gabriel Mountains, West San Gabriel Valley, East San Fernando Valley and West San Fernando Valley tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
1967 - New Town of Valencia dedicated; homes sell for $25,000 [story]
Deed of Title
Stephen Merle Houk, 48, was found guilty Monday of kidnapping his two young children and fleeing from law enforcement authorities in a motorhome last year, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Houk Convicted of Kidnapping, Fleeing Cops in Motorhome
Not a single motorist was arrested for impaired driving during Friday’s DUI checkpoint carried out by the California Highway Patrol, despite 400 drivers stopped.
No DUI Arrests in SCV Sobriety Checkpoint
A man and a woman arrested in Canyon Country Friday morning, one of them on suspicion of murder, have been identified as being from the Antelope Valley.
Pair Detained in SCV Traffic Stop ID’d; 1 Suspected of Murder
The city of Santa Clarita has been awarded the prestigious 24th Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement for 2019 from the National Procurement Institute Inc.
City Wins ‘Excellence in Procurement’ Award for Purchasing
Will Gaddis pitched well and his batterymate, Joel Diaz, delivered three RBIs to help lead the Lancaster JetHawks to a 6-4 win over the Modesto Nuts in the series' rubber game on Sunday night at John Thurman Field.
JetHawks Take Rubber Game, Series from Nuts
Ryan Vilade delivered a tie-breaking hit in the eighth inning to lead the JetHawks to a 4-3 win over the Modesto Nuts on Saturday night at John Thurman Field.
Ryan Vilade Hit Leads to Lancaster Win Over Nuts
Two equipment trailers used by the Canyon High School Gold Star Brigade were tagged with profane graffiti at some point over the weekend, Brigade officials reported Monday.
Canyon High Band Trailers Tagged, Fund Opened to Repaint
A California judge on Friday tentatively overturned Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s decision to reinstate Caren Mandoyan, an officer fired for domestic violence, but a final ruling is expected next week.
Judge May Overturn Villanueva’s Rehiring of Mandoyan
The LA County coroner has identified the man killed Wednesday after his pickup truck collided with a big rig on Interstate 5, near Castaic, as 35-year-old Sergio Martinez of Grand Junction, Colorado.
Grand Junction Man ID’d as Person Killed in I-5 Crash
More than 30% of Los Angeles County high school students have reported ever using e-cigarette products and 10% of high school students regularly use e-cigarette products, according to the latest data from the 2017-18 California Student Tobacco Survey and the California Healthy Kids Survey.
Surveys: Vaping Increases Among LA County Youth
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station will take part in a bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement operation on Thursday, August 22, between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Aug. 22: LASD Bicycle, Pedestrian Safety Push in SCV
The Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District has confirmed West Nile virus in four additional mosquito samples from traps in the cities of Carson, Northridge, Reseda and Signal Hill.
County Finds More Mosquitos Infected with West Nile Virus
%d bloggers like this: