Friday, January 13, 2012

The times they are a changing

Governor Brown moves to revamp CA high speed rail project

ELK GROVE, Calif.—Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday that his appointees to the board overseeing California's embattled $98 billion high-speed rail project will fix its problems and offer a revamped business plan after the rail authority's director and its board chairman resigned a day earlier.

The Democratic governor told reporters in Elk Grove, a Sacramento suburb, that he will not join the "defeatist crowd" that believes the project is impossible.

"We're going to build, but we're not going to be stupid. And we'll listen to the critics, and we'll fix things and we'll do the right thing," Brown said. "We're not going to go overboard. We're going to be very careful and build incrementally as we go."

This really strikes me as being an indication that the general direction of the project is going to change. I expect that the ARRA funds with a 2012 construction start timeline will be forfeited due to the need for a revamped business plan, but will find their way back for the first segment to actually be constructed. I also firmly expect that the initial construction segment will be abandoned to go straight for an initial operating segment. Accordingly, the CV will be abandoned yet remain as it will simply be part of the IOS.

Less firmly, I suspect Altamont will receive more study and possibly a switch to it, especially given Brown's Oakland connection. I don't anticipate a proper Grapevine study however, as it is too new in time, unless a major traditional media outlet does a story on it.

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