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High Speed Rail Phase 1 to Hit Burbank

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Lot's of interesting news on the proposed California high speed rail plan, which is targeting a groundbreaking for next year. "While the updated strategy still calls for construction to start in the Central Valley, it abandons plans to build only a 130-mile stretch from Chowchilla (Madera County) to Bakersfield. Instead, it extends the initial line north to Merced and south across the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale and the San Fernando Valley, probably Burbank, and calls for it to carry high-speed trains along the 300-mile stretch. It relies heavily on what officials have called a "blended approach" that uses existing commuter rail lines - including Caltrain - in the Bay Area and Los Angeles." The revamped route tags along with a revamped financial plan, revising the estimated cost to construct down from $98.5 billion to $68.4 billion. Now everyone loves it, right? [SFGate]