Announcements about the California high-speed rail project are arriving fast and furious lately--either someone's calling for it be put on hold or it's locking in money or it's being extended to Reno (we lied about that last one). The latest news: after exploring a direct San Francisco to Anaheim route through the Grapevine (closely following the 5), the high-speed rail authority now wants to forget that and pursue a route that doglegs through the Mojave Desert and the Antelope Valley cities of Lancaster and Palmdale, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Grapevine proposal was initially thrown in the waste bin in 2005, but brought back to life last year because it was believed that it would provide a cheaper, faster route--possibly shaving as much as 12 minutes off the trip from Southern California to the Bay Area. The latest studies show the Grapevine would only save between three and five minutes of travel time, while the Antelope Valley route would "serve one of the fastest-growing areas in Los Angeles County, have fewer environmental effects and allow planners more flexibility in route selection through the mountains."
Folks connected to the giant, sprawly Tejon Ranch development hated the Grapevine route anyway and Palmdale sued the California High-Speed Rail Authority for even initiating a new study on the route. Other fans of the Palmdale route include the backers of the DesertXpress speedy train that will travel from Vegas to Victorville--a proposed extension would bring the train to, you guessed it, Palmdale.
· Planners Want to Discard Grapevine Route [LA Times]
· High-Speed Rail Archives [Curbed LA]