Nation

Plans for high-speed rail are slowing down

Project’s starting location raises criticism in state

PALO ALTO, Calif. - Critics began panning the first leg of California’s futuristic high-speed rail network as a “train to nowhere’’ soon after officials decided to build it not in the major population centers of Los Angeles or San Francisco but rather through the state’s Central Valley farming belt.

Since then, things have only gotten worse. Spiraling cost estimates and eroding political and public support now threaten a project crucial to a 21st-century vision of train travel that President Obama promised would transform US transportation much as interstate highways did more than half a century ago.

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