Calif high speed rail drops Anaheim from $68B plan

April 8, 2012 • Business

FILE – This image provided by [auth] the California High Speed Rail Authority shows an artist’s rendering of a high-speed train station. State rail officials say they’re going to shorten the route of this planned Bay Area-to-Southern California high speed train system, saying the $68 billion project won’t build a train line from San Francisco to Anaheim as originally intended. (AP Photo/California High Speed Rail Authority, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The route of the planned Bay Area-to-Southern California high speed train system will stop short of Anaheim, state rail officials said.

Instead, the $68 billion bullet train project would have its southern terminus in Los Angeles, 40 miles northwest of the Orange County city, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday ( ).

Rail authority chairman Dan Richard told the newspaper the route between LA and Orange County would cost $6 billion and save only 10 minutes of travel time compared with the current trains.

“Why would we do that, pay $600 million per minute?” Richard said, adding that the savings of dropping Anaheim from initial construction plans makes financial sense.

Bullet train passengers would have to transfer to slower Metrolink or Amtrak trains in Los Angeles to reach Anaheim, Orange County’s largest city and home to Disneyland.

Walt Disney Co. has been a strong advocate for the bullet train reaching Orange County from its northern terminus in San Francisco. And Anaheim saw the new rail line as a centerpiece of a $200 million transportation hub, known as ARTIC, near Angel Stadium. The city is set to seek bids for the transit center next month.

Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, whose district includes Anaheim, said rail officials made the right decision.

“It was never realistic to come to Anaheim,” Nelson told the Times. “For four years, I’ve been saying the thing is never coming to Anaheim.”

But Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray said it’s essential that the bullet train reach her city and its tourist attractions and professional sports teams.

“The state of California is growing at a fast clip,” she said. “We need to have transit as well as highways.”

The high speed rail project was approved by state voters in 2008.

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