Benefits to Transit

The California high speed rail project will benefit Amtrak and commuter rail service in the state in two ways.

First, in addition to the $9 billion specified for constructing the high-speed rail system, Proposition 1A allocates $950 million for capital improvements to intercity and commuter rail lines and urban rail systems, which is broken down into the following categories:

  • $190 million for the Amtrak California program. The San Joaquin, Capitol Corridor, and Surfliner Lines which receive $47.5 million each.
  • $760 million dedicated to commuter rail, light-rail, heavy-rail, and cable car systems that “provide or improve” connectivity to the high-speed rail system. These funds will be apportioned through several state formulas to agencies with rail systems.

These funds have not been spent because there has not been a plan. It is likely that the forthcoming Final Business Plan will provide a strategic approach to using the $950 million in funds for the maximum benefit. Upon completion of this plan, it is likely that distribution of these funds will be accelerated.

Second, there are funds available from Prop 1A that are available, but not needed to match the federal grant, that can be used for projects like highway grade crossing separations and other improvements that will be used for high speed rail in the future but can bring immediate benefit today.

These projects would not be occurring if not for high-speed rail.

See a breakdown of benefits here.