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California's High-Speed Rail Moves Ahead; Transportation Official Says That Its Costs Can Be Recovered And That It Will Be Worth The Wait

KCBS In Depth is our weekly half-hour news interview. On air: Saturdays 5:30 a.m.; Sundays 8:30 a.m., 8:30 p.m. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — California's High Speed Rail Project is moving ahead with ground broken for construction in Fresno this week of the first phase of the system.

While the delays up to this point have been many and lengthy, preparations to hit the ground rolling for "if and when" the green light was given, have continued.

Dan Richard, the chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority told KCBS In Depth co-hosts Jeff Bell and Ed Cavagnaro that more of the pieces of the project are assembled than most would assume and that a stable force of funding is in place—more than other transportation projects across the country.

"One of our big advantages with high-speed rail here in California is that unlike BART, or Muni or any urban transportation system that needs an ongoing subsidy—no matter how inefficient it is—high-speed rail trains, because they are inter-city, because they compete with airlines around the world, once they're built, once the capital is expended, they all generate positive income," Richard said.

He said they predict that will end being a $20 billion source of funding and the private sector will bid for rights to operate the trains.

"About a third of the money is going to come from the private sector from the operations of the train itself," Richard said.

Richard said there is a very high level of confidence that enough money can be made to complete the entire bullet system citing $9 billion in state bonds and $3 billion in federal dollars, as well as billions in new cap-and-trade revenue.



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