Work has officially begun on Americaâ€™s first bullet train, which will take passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours, half the time it takes to drive between the two cities. Maybe.
A groundbreaking ceremony in Fresno on Tuesday marked the start of work on the first segment of a railway which in theory will have trains racing through California at 220mph by 2029.
The system is supposed to eventually include more than 800 miles of track and as many as 24 stations, and be extended to San Diego and Sacramento, showing that the United States can match Asia and Europe in high-speed rail.
Supporters hope the groundbreaking, though two years late, will uncork momentum and passion for the project after decades of political, financial and legal wrangling.
Opponents, however, scorned the event as the baptism of a white elephant that will waste public money and languish, unfinished, as a monument to hubris.
â€œItâ€™s hard to celebrate breaking ground on what is likely to become abandoned pieces of track that never connect to a usable segment,â€ Jeff Denham, a Republican congressman from the Central Valley, which lines the proposed route, told the