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Map shows high-speed rail’s sluggish progress

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And construction is even more elusive

A rendering of blue and white bullet trains in a modern train station. Courtesy HSR

High-speed rail still seems like a distant vision to most Californians, but the plan to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles via a rail line that can make the trip in less than three hours is under construction right now, and has been since 2015.

In an effort to impress this fact on Californians, the state agency in charge has a handy go-to map showing the work in progress on the entire $64 billion enterprise. Clicking on each point reveals what work is being done there, who the contractor is, when the start and estimated end date is, and provide some photos of the progress.

The idea, of course, is to keep up public support for the project through regular demonstrations of material payoff, beset as the entire programs is by political hurdles and lawsuits.

(At the end of July the California Supreme Court ruled that the train project couldn’t leapfrog the state’s environmental laws, leaving the door open for new challenges.)

As Streetsblog points out, the revised schedule right now calls for a line to open between the Bay Area and the Central Valley by 2025.

The entirety of phase one, from San Francisco to Anaheim, is supposed to be open for business in 2029.

Right now of course,the work actually visible on the map is just a small piece of what will eventually be a long and winding course through the state, with the construction furthest north right now being an overpass under construction just above Madera and the lowest lying work being another overpass just south of Fremont.

But even a journey of 407.6 miles or so starts with a single step.