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Texas lags California in high-speed rail plans

AUSTIN Texas Gov. Rick Perry never misses an opportunity to tweak California.

Its massive budget deficit, often dysfunctional state government and high unemployment make the Golden State an easy target for Perry's jabs.

Still, there is more in common between the Lone Star State and its rival to the west than either probably would like to admit. Among them, both states have seen their populations explode in the past 30 years and each state's transportation infrastructure has struggled to keep up with that growth.

During the next 20 years, the problem is only going to get worse. California expects its population to grow by more than 12 million; Texas by about 10 million.

According to a study commissioned by the Texas Transportation Commission, during the next 20 years, more than $300 billion in 2009 dollars needs to be invested in Texas roads and freeways just to keep commute times from worsening.

California, however, has embarked on a different path. In 2008, California voters approved $10 billion in bonds as a down payment on a $40 billion high-speed rail system that will link San Diego to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to San Francisco and Sacramento via the Central Valley.

The full story appears on the Houston Chronicle website.

Monday, February 7, 2011

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