The California High-Speed Rail Authority has been planning a path from Bakersfield to Palmdale for over a decade.
Currently, it takes more than an hour and a half to drive the distance. By high-speed rail going 200 miles per hour, it would take a quarter of the time–only 25 minutes.
“A lot of transportation mobility and connectivity could be unlocked if we were able to get over the Tehachapi mountains in 20 minutes instead of the amount of time that it takes today in a car, maybe an hour,” said Michelle Boehm, the Authority’s Southern California regional director.
The Bakersfield-to-Palmdale segment is just one piece of an 800-mile railway connecting Northern and Southern California. The goal is to create a transportation corridor between San Francisco and Anaheim.
“A north-south transportation corridor across California is really something that can unlock a lot of opportunities for people. But it’s very complicated to plan and build,” Boehm said.
Routes from Bakersfield to Merced have already been approved, and construction has created more than 2,000 jobs in the Central Valley so far.
Ahead of board approval, the Authority presented the project to the community to hear their questions and feedback.
To address noise, they said there will be sound barriers where the rail passes residential areas. As for environmental concerns, they said the trains will be renewable and all-electric.
The board will meet in Bakersfield in October to either approve or adjust the route to Palmdale.
If all parts of the rail are approved, a Los Angeles to San Francisco connection could be complete by 2033.