Speaking at a luncheon in San Jose, Roelof van Ark, CEO of the High Speed Rail Authority, said that the bullet train linking LA and San Francisco (with the obligatory stop in San Jose) will be built. The $42 billion project, which would be the biggest public works project in the state’s history, faces opposition from many local leaders, who are wary of the impact it will have on their municipalities, and inevitable funding issues. Van Ark admitted that the Authority has communicated poorly with local leaders, and vowed to improve on that in the coming months.

Though California voters approved $10 billion in bonds for the project, they also need federal funding, amounting to some $18 billion, and private investments of about $12 billion. Private investors are reluctant to put money into the project until federal funding is assured, and that depends on a number of factors. Among these, construction must begin on the project no later than September 2012.

Van Ark is optimistic, however, ad says that he is receiving political support from Sacramento and Washington DC, as well as support from local businesses and organized labor.  “feel confident we are moving in the right direction,” he told his audience.

Evidence of this can be seen in the $194 million grant that the High Speed Rail Authority received yesterday from the federal government. The money, which will be used to pay for preliminary engineering and environmental analyses of segments between San Francisco and Anaheim, will be matched dollar for dollar by the state government. The authority called the grant a token of trust that the federal government has in the project.
Read More at the Business Journal.
Read More at NBC Bay Area.