Calif. High-Speed Rail on Track to Start Construction in July

$8 billion, 800-mile high-speed line could cut travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles to under three hours.

A representative of California High-Speed Rail in San Francisco talked about the rail system's near- and long-term plans in the Bay Area.

Regional director of CHSR in Northern California Ben Tripousis joined San Francisco Director of Transportation Policy Gillian Gillett for a high-speed rail forum at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association.

Tripousis told a packed auditorium that a 2-hour-and-45-minute-trip from San Francisco's Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles' Union Station could be a reality by 2029, but that a host of political, financial and logistical obstacles must be hurdled before high-speed trains reach the Bay Area.

"To quote Ben Franklin, 'We must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately,'" Tripousis said.

One of the keys to making the 800-mile high-speed train system a reality is moving ahead with early investments in local transportation corridors that will eventually accommodate high-speed trains, Tripousis said.

"Here in the Bay Area, our focus is largely on the electrification of Caltrain," he said.

As part of the $8 billion high-speed rail funding plan approved by the state legislature in July 2012, more than $700 million was committed to the electrification of Caltrain between San Francisco and San Jose, Tripousis said.

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Source: ABC San Francisco