James Andrew, Assistant Chief Counsel for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (“CHSRA”), spoke Tuesday, October 14, at the Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section Luncheon. He stated that High-Speed Rail (“HSR”) is a “transformative project” in that it will be the largest infrastructure project ever built as one single project. However, the “regulatory scheme has not caught up with the project.” Andrew compares HSR to the federal highway system construction in the 1950s, with countless opponents and regulatory hurdles. Similarly, HSR is being constructed in California in the same manner as the federal highway system: in the center and branching outward.
To show that HSR can be a success, Andrew explained that HSR is comparable to the Northeast Corridor, a high speed rail system that runs from Washington, D.C. to Boston. The two regions are similar in terms of distance of rail, population, and complexity of issues. According to reports, over 11 million people rode the Northeast Corridor during 2012.
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