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California considers high-speed rail

(United Press International circulated the following article on April 18.)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Residents of California have been asked to comment on a high-speed rail plan that could ease highway congestion, reduce energy use and rival flying times.

The California High Speed Rail Authority's plan calls for a 70-mile Los Angeles to San Francisco train that transports people in fewer than 2.5 hours with a one-way fare of $54 or less in 1999 dollars, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune Sunday.

The system is estimated to cost $33 billion to $37 billion with trains running at 220 mph from Sacramento and the Bay Area through the Central Valley to Los Angeles. A San Diego extension would be planned for phase II.

"It's a much less expensive option than expanding the highways or airports," said Marc Adelman, a San Diego lawyer and member of the rail authority's board of directors.

A draft environmental statement projects 42 million to 68 million passengers using the trains annually by 2020.

San Diego City Councilman Jim Madaffer said he needed to be convinced that "we're not going to buy something that's going to be obsolete before it's installed."

Monday, April 19, 2004

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