FRESNO, Calif. — On an average day, 1,000 workers head to dozens of construction sites spread over 119 miles across California’s vast Central Valley.
Their task is monumental: Build the bridges and crossings designed to carry bullet trains that will form the backbone of a $105 billion, 500-mile, high-speed rail system whose scale has drawn comparisons to the construction of the interstate highway system.
Of course, 14 years after voters approved a nearly $10 billion bond to start building the rail system that would whisk riders from Los Angeles to San Francisco at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, many California residents have long since lost track of what is being built where, and when or if it will ever be completed.
But if, as President Biden said in his State of the Union address, the nation is now entering an “infrastructure decade,” there is no more dramatic testing ground — or more cautionary spectacle — than California’s high-speed rail plan.
first State of the State address that California would start operating a truncated section of the route that would run from Bakersfield to Merced in the state’s largely rural Central Valley.
$4.2 billion of bond money in this year’s budget to, as Mr. Newsom put it, “finish the job in the Central Valley,” Mr. Rendon said he has asked the governor to withhold funds from the project and spend more on improving existing transit systems, particularly in the Los Angeles area, which includes his district.
“What we’re focused on is building ridership for an eventual high-speed rail project, and the way you do that is by working on the bookends,” he said.