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State submits bid for new rails

Officials hope to receive $4.7 billion toward high-speed train network that would connect most of California.

October 03, 2009|By Max Zimbert

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, state Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and other political and business leaders on Friday hailed California’s historic bid for $4.7 billion for a high-speed- train network.

California formally submitted its application Friday afternoon to the federal Department of Transportation to fund a rail system that would connect much of the state.

The benefits to Glendale and Burbank could vary, even as construction and engineering plans continue to be developed. Because high-speed trains are most effective at certain distances between stops, a station might be built in Burbank but not Glendale, officials said.

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Still, the impact on Glendale would be felt, said Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian, who also serves as chairman of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“It appears as though we are going to have to give up some of our property, both property owned by Glendale and private property owners along San Fernando [Road] . . . to make the proper clearance for the rails,” he said.

Advocates for the rail lines said the trains could carry riders from Los Angeles to Anaheim in just 20 minutes, or Sacramento in less than two hours and 20 minutes.

Constructing a high-speed rail network has been nominally endorsed by every administration since Gov. Jerry Brown. But California officials are hopeful that federal funds, which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by a $9.95-billion state bond voters passed in November, will bring green jobs to the state.

“You go to Europe and there’s high-speed rail. Go to China, there’s high-speed rail that goes 250 or 300 mph. In Japan there’s high-speed rail,” Schwarzenegger said at a news conference Friday. “And I’ve been on all these high-speed rails. That’s why I’m such a fanatic about high-speed rail: because it’s a great way to travel.”

Glendale officials were invited to the event but did not attend. There were several similar events throughout the state Friday.

California has applied for more than half the available $8 billion in federal funds for rail segments connecting San Francisco to San Jose, Merced to Bakersfield and Los Angeles to Anaheim.

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