State agency rallies support for high-speed train

Members of a state agency met in San Diego today to rally support for a November ballot measure that would fund the construction of a high-speed train system in California.

Proposition 1A would authorize the state to issue $9.95 billion in bonds to build a high-speed, electric train system that would link major California cities from San Francisco to San Diego.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has been established to build and operate the train system if voters approve the bond measure.

At its meeting in downtown at the San Diego Association of Governments headquarters, the High-Speed Rail Authority joined local officials to tout the train’s economic and environmental benefits.

“High-speed rail is key to improving our mobility, our air quality and our quality of life in general,’' said Lynn Schenk, a former San Diego congresswoman and member of the High-Speed Rail Authority.

Opponents maintain the system would be too expensive and would be under-used by Californians.

The system would initially connect Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area. Ultimately, officials envision an 800-mile statewide system with trains that run at up to 220 miles per hour.

San Diego officials stressed the importance of a San Diego-Los Angeles corridor for the high-speed train system.

Gary Gallegos, SANDAG’s executive director, said a newly signed memorandum of understanding with the High-Speed Rail Authority to start planning and engineering work on a San Diego-Los Angeles corridor “is extremely important because it also demonstrates that designing and building the system will benefit from significant local involvement and collaboration.’'

According to the High-Speed Rail Authority, a trip on the high-speed train from San Diego to Los Angeles would take about an hour and 18 minutes.