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Planners back Palmdale high-speed rail route

Posted: January 10, 2012 5:59 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2012 5:59 p.m.
 


A proposed high-speed rail project that would connect Southern California to the Bay Area should avoid Santa Clarita and the Grapevine and instead run through Palmdale on its way north, the project's planners said in a report this week.

Although staff with the California High Speed Rail Authority suggested in 2005 that a route connecting Southern California to Bakersfield through the Antelope Valley would have fewer potential environmental impacts than a route that would follow Interstate 5 through Santa Clarita and the Grapevine, planners grew concerned in recent years that the cost of the Palmdale route has increased, according to the rail authority.

Rail authority board members approved a new study last year that looked at the construction and cost issues of both routes. A report Monday recommended the Antelope Valley route.

The $98 billion high-speed rail plan approved by voters has drawn recent criticism for its high price tag. Some have called for a second vote on the issue.

The cost of constructing the train through both corridors is now estimated at between $15 billion and $15.5 billion for the Palmdale alignment and $15.1 billion for the Interstate 5 route.

"The staff recommendation to discontinue studying the I-5/Grapevine alignment and to recommit to a Palmdale station makes the most sense for the future of our region," Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said in a prepared statement.

"With the Palmdale Airport, High Desert Corridor, potential inland port and future DesertXpress connection to Las Vegas, the Antelope Valley is poised to become the new transportation crossroads of Southern California."

 

 

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