News Details

It's Not The Final Stop

Article posted on 02/18/2019

The California High Speed Rail may or may not make it beyond the Central Valley, but city officials will continue to in­clude it in planning for the fu­ture.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin New­som spoke of the $77 billion bul­let train intended to link San Fran­cisco and Los Angeles, which has been criticized for delays and in­creasing costs in ways that have been interpreted variously in the days since as either killing the project beyond the current con­struc­tion or simply slowing it down.

Newsom said “the project, as cur­rent­ly planned, would cost too much and take too long,” and that “right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Fran­cis­co to L.A. I wish there were.”

He said the 171-mile section now under construction between Bakers­field and Merced would be completed, and that environmental studies for other segments will con­tinue. His office later stated New­som was committed to the high-speed rail project.

Palmdale officials fought from the beginning to have the city included as a station on the route, and have included the rail line as a feature for its future transit area specific plan now under development. Under the existing state plans, the Palmdale station would be the stopping point between neighboring sta­tions in Bakersfield and Bur­bank.

Mayor Steve Hofbauer was in Sacramento the day following Newsom’s ad­dress and found he received different information from each legislator or staff member he asked about the status of the program.

The common theme he heard, however, was the in­tent to focus on com­ple­ting the section already under construction be­tween Ba­kers­field and Merced with­out distractions.

“We’re going to see what ends up coming out of this. We’re going to continue to hold their feet to the fire for the promises they made Southern California,” Hof­bauer said.

Hofbauer said he un­der­stood “where he’s coming from” and credited the gov­ern­or for recognizing issues with the project’s cost over­runs and management prob­lems.

In the meantime, the city is not changing its plan­ning efforts, which include the high-speed rail project as one of several aspects for future development of its transit area, which would re­model a section of central Palmdale stretch­ing between Rancho Vista Boul­evard (Avenue P) and Palmdale Boulevard and the Antelope Valley Free­way to 10th Street East.

“We are staying the course. We’re staying pos­it­ive. We’re continuing with our station planning,” Mi­chael Behen, strategic ini­tia­tives manager for Palm­dale’s Public Works De­partment, said.

A grant from the Cal­if­ornia High Speed Rail Auth­ority is part of the fund­ing for the planning proj­ect, he said.

Additionally, Behen said he had assurances from the authority that the environmental study for the rail project that is al­ready underway will be com­pleted as planned.

“We don’t want to be in a position where they show up or want to show up and we’re not ready,” Hofbauer said.

However, the state rail proj­ect is but one factor in the larger picture, which in­cludes multiple trans­portation modes.

“If high-speed rail shows up, great. If it doesn’t we’re going to be ok,” he said.

The city is also planning for a future high-speed train service between Las Vegas and Victorville to ex­tend to Palmdale. This pri­vately funded project, now known as Virgin Trains USA and formerly as Brightline, will travel a fed­erally approved cor­rid­or between those two cities initially, with the potential to con­tin­ue the line to Palm­­dale, where it will con­nect with other trans­por­tation services.

Construction is expected to begin this year and the com­pany plans to begin ini­­­tial service in 2022, ac­­cord­ing to a company state­­ment.

Additionally, the city is work­ing with the Air Force and others to reinstate com­mer­cial air service at the Palmdale Regional Air­port, which uses the run­ways at Air Force Plant 42.

“Things are happening here you don’t see any place else in the state, or really in the country,” Behen said.

Source: Antelope Valley Press. While this information is deemed reliable, it has not been verified and its accuracy is not guaranteed by the source, ACE Capital Group, its representative, brokers, and/or agents. ACE Capital Group reserves the right to correct any unintended errors or omissions.