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Economic Impact

A new study suggests high speed rail in California will likely create jobs and population growth in larger cities with stations along the route, and second tier cities like Bakersfield and Fresno would fare better than those without stations.
The report, issued last week by the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, said that while California cities vary widely in planning for high speed train stations, it will take a savvy combination of station location, links to other transportation systems and supportive land use and zoning policies to make stations a springboard for job growth and development.
Despite widespread projections of (rail) induced development in station cities, the experience in other countries indicates that a build it and they will come approach is insufficient, wrote Anastasia Loukaitou Sideris, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her co-authors professors at UCLA and San Jose State.In theory, the economic and urban development impacts of high speed rail can be significant, the report said. But those effects are much less likely without proper planning.Cities can also work to capture the jobs related to providing or maintaining the HSR itself, researchers wrote.Bakersfield has received money to begin planning for project impacts to a one mile area around the proposed station downtown. But City Manager Alan Tandy noted that such efforts have not yet begun.The reality is that there will be a very long time to plan for station impacts, he wrote in an email.Realistically, any planning that takes place now will likely have to be revisited at the future time if, and when, the real improvements actually occur.The interim executive director of the Kern Council of Governments, Bob Ball, said in an email that he agrees with the studys conclusion that planning will be critical to maximizing local benefits.That is why we have worked hard to consider all viewpoints on the project while still recognizing that it continues to move forward, Ball wrote. He added that Kern COG continues to look after the areas best interests by commenting on every study, plan and environmental document put out by the projects Sacramento planners.If there are benefits to be had, they wont be instantaneous, researchers said.Completion of a full high speed rail system linking San Francisco and Los Angeles is expected to take up to two decades, the researchers wrote, and the development effects, may take as many as two additional decades to realize.
8.Economic boost, The economic benefits of a high speed train system come from a variety of angles. From the jobs created to build the network, to the increased productivity which would come from more efficient use of time (less sitting in traffic jams), to the increased access to transportation of goods people for local businesses, high speed trains make economic sense.
Because high speed rail promises environmental, economic, and transportation benefits, it has garnered broad support from throughout the Midwest.


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