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It's Official: California's First Stretch of High-speed Rail Selected

The path to California's transportation future will run through Fresno. But it won't have trains.

The path to California's transportation future will run through Fresno.

On Tuesday, we got word that engineers at California's High-Speed Rail Authority recommended that the first stretch of track to be laid should be a 54-mile route through the Central Valley, from Borden to Fresno to Corcoran.

Yesterday, the group's officials voted unanimously to approve the recommendation.

A line between two small towns in the rural Central Valley may seem like an odd place to start, but (and I'm not sure if this makes it more or less odd) it's not even going to get trains until more pieces of the network are built.

"We're not recommending to build an operable section, we're not looking to put trains on this particular piece," board member Fran Florez said. "This is just the beginning. It's not going to please everyone, but hopefully we'll get a lot of support for the benefit of the project in the future."


The idea is to just get something built with the state's 2.25 billion in federal funds before they expire—and hopefully generate some momentum.

If the rest of the network gets built, this stretch will carry bullet trains from San Francisco and Sacramento to San Diego and Los Angeles. If building the rest of the network gets delayed, or turns out to be impossible for some reason, this stretch wouldn't necessarily be useless. It could connect to existing Amtrak freight rail lines.

I think I can, I think I can.

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