While the train was originally intended to stretch through the mountains and into the L.A. basin, engineers are finding traversing the mountains is difficult and expensive and there are some ranchers with land in the middle of the path. In an article for Wired, Nick Stockton writes there are a lot of opponents to the rail line, including these ranchers, but all of the problems typically come back to money.
Battling Southern California’s topography along with its ranchers would have burned through a lot of budget. So the Authority decided to let go of LA. Instead, it’s betting that an operational high speed link between Silicon Valley—San Jose, specifically—and the Central Valley will entice businesses to invest in the rail. Maybe enough to cover the missing portion of the $64 billion price tag.
In addition to pivoting the end location, the Authority is also appearing to pivot the goal of the rail. High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales says the San Jose to Fresno link would let people living in the Central Valley have access to jobs in the Bay Area. “And companies in the Bay would be able to access the job market and build field offices in lower cost areas,” says Morales.