California GOVERNOR Gray Davis unveiled on April 6 a $15bn Traffic Congestion Relief Plan for the state’s principal cities. Most of the money is earmarked for highway maintenance and improvements, but a surprisingly large amount is proposed for rail projects, some of which are unexpected.

Among the proposals is $760m to extend the Bay Area Rapid Transit network to San Jose, and to provide ’interim’ commuter rail services from Fremont to San Jose, $777m towards a light rail line from Los Angeles Union Station to East LA, and $40m for the Pasadena light rail line. San Francisco Municipal Railway would get $140m for a cross-city light rail tunnel, connecting the proposed Third Street route to Chinatown, and $120m would fund light rail extensions in Sacramento.

Metrolink commuter rail services would benefit from doubling and triple-tracking of several line sections. Caltrain would get $127m to launch an express service linking San Francisco and San Jose in 45min with three stops. A further $245m would fund grade separation and flying junctions on the Alameda Corridor East project to accelerate freight services from Los Angeles through the San Gabriel Valley to Colton.

Whether any of this happens will depend on the state’s ability to secure $10bn from federal and local funds using $5bn of state funds as leverage. $2·8bn would be cash from budget surpluses and $2·26bn would be raised from bonds.

  • Raytheon has abandoned its attempt to develop personal rapid transit, despite having spent an estimated $45m on development and marketing since 1993. Cars were built for trials on a 550 m elevated guideway in Marlborough, but the company has now taken a $6m charge to ’dispose of’ its test track.