Report: Investment needed to prepare San Joaquin Valley communities for high-speed rail

By Erin Baldassari  | [email protected]
Bay Area News Group

September 13, 2017
Without state and local intervention, San Joaquin Valley cities with high-speed rail stations will become bedroom communities, sending out waves of tech workers on express trains to the Bay Area and Los Angeles, a report released Wednesday by nonprofit think-tank SPUR argues.

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While the Central Valley could potentially serve to supply the cheap housing that has eluded Bay Area-based workers, report author Egon Terplan says that would fail to capitalize on perhaps the single greatest infrastructure investment the state will make this century. Rather than being the tide that lifts all boats, high-speed rail could widen already-stark income disparities between central valley regions and wealthier. more populated coastal neighbors, he said.

If it’s done right, Terplan said those Central Valley cities can reverse years of high unemployment and disinvestment and become incubators for fledgling companies seeking cheaper rents outside the urban poles while still staying only a one- to two-hours’ commute away from either end, he said.

But, it won’t be easy.

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