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California' high-speed rail project well-positioned to vie for federal funding: VP
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08:38, June 05, 2009

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California's high-speed rail project is well-positioned to compete for a significant share of the eight-billion-dollar federal funding, Vice President Joe Biden said in remarks published on Thursday.

Biden said in a conference call in Los Angeles on Wednesday that the Obama administration wants "to get shovel-ready projects out the door as quickly as we can. ... So California is in the game," especially since high-speed rail has been a priority of the governor and Legislature, according to the Los Angeles Times.

California will be vying against other states this summer to get funding for a high-speed rail corridor that would ferry passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a 2-hour, 40-minute trip, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Obama administration set aside the funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for rail lines.

California voters approved nine billion dollars in bonds for the project in November. Promoters hope the federal government and the private sector will kick in enough money to help them complete the 34-billion-dollar first phase, the paper reported.

Construction between Los Angeles and San Francisco would take at least a decade, according to planners quoted by the paper. Ultimately, proponents envision an 800-mile (1,280-kilometer) network -- costing at least 45 billion dollars-- that would reach Sacramento in Northern California and San Diego in southern part of the state.

Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, told the paper that two sections of the project could meet the Recovery Act criteria for high-speed rail: of having contracts awarded by 2012 and work completed by 2017.

The sections would be those between Los Angeles and Anaheim in Southern California at a cost of three billion dollars, and between San Francisco and San Jose in Northern California at a cost of four billion to five billion dollars, he said.


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