The California High Speed Rail Authority released an animated mapping video, with train simulations of the route from Bakersfield to Palmdale in the high desert outside of urban Los Angeles:
It’s important to keep in mind that this section cannot be built with the money that the High Speed Rail Authority has in hand today and will have through 2020 under cap-and-trade allocations. So this route will remain just a visual exercise unless the Authority can secure some private investment.
But here’s the problem: private investors aren’t stepping up, because the route is so politically gerrymandered that the rail can’t return enough revenue without a more direct connection from LA to San Francisco. The twists and turns (why Palmdale?) out to the eastern San Joaquin Valley will prove fatal if more revenue isn’t found.
And if it fails, rail advocates should focus on improving Amtrak service in the Valley to LA. I hope it doesn’t happen, but that may be the consolation prize while we wait another generation for a second go at high speed rail — only this next time it will have to be done right.