San Diego Has Head Start in High-Speed Rail Funds - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Has Head Start in High-Speed Rail Funds

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President Obama has announced plans to use federal funds to create a high-speed rail system across the country and San Diego is in the mix.

A route from San Diego to the Bay Area has been named as a potential rail corridor.

When it comes to high-speed rail travel, the United States is on the slow track compared to countries, such as France, Spain and Japan.

President Obama is now allocating more federal funds, totaling $13 billion over the next five years, to create a network of 10 high-speed rail corridors with trains that could reach speeds of100 miles per hour, easing traffic on roads and in airports and decreasing dependence on foreign oil, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is shining a lot of light on an idea.... that this might be its time," said Gary Gallegos.

Gary Gallegos, Executive Director of SANDAG the area's regional planning agency, says California already has a well-developed vision for a high-speed 900 mile rail corridor, connecting San Francisco to San Diego. Last November, voters approved $10 billion in state bonds for the project.

"Our work may be a little more advanced than other parts of the country and hopefully that's a competitive advantage for us," continued Gallegos.

The proposed California corridor, with a total price tag of $45 billion, would bring high-speed rail along Interstate 15 through Riverside toward Miramar and eventually to downtown San Diego and could take up to a decade to complete.

It will also take some convincing for car-obsessed commuters. But those who've already used high-speed rail to get around in other countries say they're already sold on the idea.

"How much time you spend in the airport, with the delays, the cancellations, things like that, I think this could be a game changer for most people," said Alex Ahmadian.

The proposed high-speed rail corridor in California is projected to cost $45 billion and would take up to a decade to complete once the funding is in place.

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