L.A. commits funding to high-speed rail study

Posted on March 17, 2004

The Los Angeles City Council agreed to help fund the first part of a study of a magnetic levitation (maglev) train that would connect the westside of the city with the Ontario International Airport.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the council agreed unanimously to pay $563,000 to commission research into the feasibility and environmental effect of a 50-mile maglev train line. The federal government has already pledged $2.5 million for the first phase of the study but has required local governments to match a percentage of the cost. Continued phases of the study would need additional funding.

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), which proposed the maglev line, estimated construction costs of the train to reach $5 billion. SCAG officials said the train would solve congestion problems and enhance aviation capabilities in the region by allowing access to two existing airports and another proposed one nearby.

"For a long time now, other cities in the region have been saying Los Angeles is not doing its part to help solve all of our congestion problems," Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa said. "This puts Los Angeles at the front of the line in that effort."

Planners said the first leg of the line would be built with funding from private investors. The train would reach top speeds of nearly 250 mph and make the 50-mile trip in about 30 minutes.

However, the maglev proposal conflicts with plans by the California High Speed Rail Authority to create a high-speed railway connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both proposals call for a line between Los Angeles and Ontario.

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