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Board approves Palmdale high-speed rail route

Posted: January 12, 2012 6:24 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2012 6:24 p.m.

As high-speed rail board members approved a Palmdale route for a project that would connect Southern California to the Bay Area on Thursday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich proposed an alternative: improving existing Southern California passenger rail lines to increase potential speed.

California High Speed Rail Authority board members unanimously approved a route connecting Southern California to Bakersfield through the Antelope Valley, favoring that plan over a route that would follow Interstate 5 through Santa Clarita and the Grapevine.

The cost of constructing the train through the Palmdale corridor is now estimated at $15 billion to $15.5 billion.
The $98 billion high-speed rail plan approved by voters has drawn recent criticism for its escalating price tag.
Some have called for a second vote on the issue.

Antonovich issued a statement Thursday praising the Antelope Valley route and proposing upgrades to the existing Metrolink/Amtrak rail system to address the high costs associated with high-speed rail.

Antonovich said upgrades to the existing Metrolink and Amtrak rail systems could be completed from Lancaster to San Diego - turning it into a 110 mph system that could be connected to the San Joaquin Valley.

"This hybrid system can be built using less money, in less time, and with greater benefits for the 60 percent of Californians who reside in the state's southern counties," said Antonovich in the statement. "This proposal will upgrade systems, make use of already-owned right-of-ways and protect communities facing the loss of homes, schools, businesses and farms."

According to the statement, Antonovich's proposal has been approved by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Southern California Association of Governments and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.




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