High-speed rail board to weigh in on revised California plan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The board that oversees California’s massive high-speed rail project is meeting in Sacramento on Thursday afternoon to consider a new $64 billion business plan.

The updated plan calls for a station in Merced and the first stretch to go from the Central Valley to the San Jose area.

It’s a change from previous plans that called for the bullet train to first connect high-speed rail from the Central Valley to the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, then to head north.

But rail officials say with limited funding, this approach is better because the state can ensure a useable segment gets built for about $21 billion relying only on existing funding.

It also avoids the tricky engineering work of tunneling through the Tehachapi mountains and delays residents’ complaints for a while.