UPDATE: In a reversal, the California High Speed Rail Authority on Thursday put Anaheim back on the route for the bullet train route. Although the last leg — Los Angeles to Orange County — might not be at full speed, the move restores the home of Disneyland and Angel Stadium as the terminus of the rail line. Travelers will be able to go from the Golden Gate to Fantasyland without changing trains. This could benefit Garden Grove’s plans to develop an entertainment zone along Harbor Boulevard.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The route of the planned Bay Area-to-Southern California high speed train system will stop short of Anaheim, state rail officials said. The change could mean bad news for the amusement and entertainment businesses in Anaheim and Garden Grove.
Instead, the $68 billion bullet train project would have its southern terminus in Los Angeles, 40 miles northwest of the Orange County city, it was reported.
Rail authority chairman Dan Richard told the newspaper the route between LA and Orange County would cost $6 billion and save only 10 minutes of travel time compared with the current trains.
“Why would we do that, pay $600 million per minute?’’ Richard said, ad
ding that the savings of dropping Anaheim from initial construction plans makes financial sense.
Bullet train passengers would have to transfer to slower Metrolink or Amtrak trains in Los Angeles to reach Anaheim, Orange County’s largest city and home to Disneyland.
Walt Disney Co. has been a strong advocate for the bullet train reaching Orange County from its northern terminus in San Francisco. And Anaheim saw the new rail line as a centerpiece of a $200 million transportation hub, known as ARTIC, near Angel Stadium. The city is set to seek bids for the transit center next month.
Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson, whose district includes Anaheim, said rail officials made the right decision.
“It was never realistic to come to Anaheim,’’ Nelson said. “For four years, I’ve been saying the thing is never coming to Anaheim.’’
But Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray said it’s essential that the bullet train reach her city and its tourist attractions and professional sports teams.
“The state of California is growing at a fast clip,’’ she said. “We need to have transit as well as highways.’’
On Monday, Rep, Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) expressed unhappiness with the change.
“I was quite disappointed with the Authority’s recent decision to terminate the high-speed rail line to Anaheim, which is home to a thriving business corridor and to our state’s largest tourist attractions,” she said. “Failure to link the high-speed rail system to Orange County negatively impacts the county’s residents and our local economy.”
Garden Grove has put much money and effort into capitalizing on its proximity to Anaheim and is seeking to rebrand Harbor Boulevard as “International West.” What’s envisioned is an extension of a large entertainment zone with Disneyland in Anaheim at the north, and a variety of attractions and hotels to the south in Garden Grove.
The high speed rail project was approved by state voters in 2008.