Even before President Barack Obama set aside $8 billion in federal stimulus funds last year for high-speed rail projects nationally, California voters in 2008 had already approved a $10 billion bond measure to begin construction of a statewide high-speed train network. California’s High-Speed Rail Authority is responsible for planning, constructing and operating a high-speed train system serving California’s major metropolitan areas.
Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City (Feb. 8 at 10 pm) follows several members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority to Spain, where they tour that nation’s extensive high speed rail
system and learn about the challenges they face as they try to get the first American trains up and running — from Los Angeles to San Francisco — by the end of the decade.
In addition to connecting California’s key cities — San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento — high-speed rail will link some 20 smaller cities throughout the state. Leaders from many of those communities lobbied to get a train stop placed locally. The potential for the trains to link local economies to state and regional economies drove those efforts — and no one wanted to be passed by.
The agricultural community of Visalia – located 44 miles south of Fresno and nearly the midpoint between Sacramento and Los Angeles – was one such city.
Blueprint America followed Mayor Jesus Gamboa as he lobbied the California High-Speed Rail Authority for a train stop for Visalia.