Applications for Phase I of federal HSR stimulus funds were due yesterday, and California's request totaled $1.1 billion, focused on the Transbay Terminal train box:
$400 million of the application sent Monday would go toward a “box” to be built 100 feet below the redeveloped Transbay Terminal that would contain a future station for high-speed rail and Caltrain service connecting San Jose and San Francisco. Proposals for spending the remaining $700 million are scattered around the state for various intercity rail projects, Diridon said.
Note that this is just for one specific, narrowly-focused pot of HSR stimulus - applications for another pot of money with more flexibility what qualifies for funds are due in October. Diridon still believes CHSRA, through the state of California and Caltrans in particular, should apply for $4 to $6 billion in that Phase II round of requests.
It is highly likely that CA will get its $1.1 billion request, and we are still in a very good position to get some of the larger request that will be made in October and decided in early 2010.
UPDATE: The Business Insider says "give all the money to California" (h/t to Streetsblog LA):
One of the biggest problem with building a high speed rail system in the United States, is all the unknowns. That's why we get highly questionable, back of the envelop guess work done by Harvard's Ed Glaeser.
If we built the train system proposed for California, we would get real, measurable, results. If the train is a flop, at least we'll know for sure. If it's a raging success, then we can choose the next part of the country in which to build a better train system....
California is ready to go. It has a plan in place for high speed rail system. California voters approved a $9.95 billion bond sale to fund the rail line. Add in $13 billion from the federal government, and the project is more than half way funded....
We can get a big shiny play thing out of our stimulus. It's the type of project--whether it's successful, or a boondoggle--that we can say came about because of the Great Recession....
Spread the wealth around, and it's just going to look like more of the same.
Were it not for the Congressional politics of funding anything - where people want to ensure their states and districts get a little something - I'd call this not only a very good idea, but a politically sensible approach. Congress and the Obama Administration ought to split the difference and help seed other HSR projects, even if they're not true bullet trains - but ensure that our flagship project here in CA gets the money it needs to be built and built the right way.
Atrios makes this point as well.