The long-awaited high-speed rail project that would connect the Bay Area to Southern California may break ground as early as this year, the CoCo Times reports. The possible expedited timeline is the result of the Obama Administration’s announcement of a $2.25 billion federal grant for the project. The grant allowed the state to tap into voter-approved Proposition 1A funds, bringing the total to $4.5 billion.
Although the bullet train is expected to ultimately cost more than $40 billion to build, the initial grant funds may help launch the project before Governor Schwarzenegger leaves office at the end of this year. Backers hope that the project will be completed by 2020. Under terms of the federal grant, constuction must begin by 2012 and end by 2017. The bullet train is expected to speed passengers to LA in less than three hours for a price competitive with air travel.