"Questions & AnswersIn contrast:
How many riders are expected and how many passengers are forecast to be diverted from airplanes and cars? The most recent ridership forecasts for the California High-Speed Train Project estimate between 88 – 117 million passengers annually by 2030 for the entire 800-mile high-speed train network connecting Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and San Diego. Of the 33 million air trips forecast to be made in the year 2030, over a third or 12 million would be attracted to high-speed trains, bringing the level of air traffic in the state back to the levels of 2000, slightly higher than it is today. In other words most of the growth in air traffic would be diverted, leaving airport capacity for international and out-of-state flights."
The Amtrak concept plan,Somehow, I don't think Amtrak's Northeast Corridor in 2040 will draw 70 - 100 million fewer riders than California's HSR in 2030 (even if California's system is somewhat longer). Given Amtrak has no incentive to underestimate, this suggests some issues with California's forecasts. Can you say "Strategic Misrepresentation", good, I knew you could. See: Curbing Optimism Bias and Strategic Misrepresentation in Planning: Reference Class Forecasting in Practice.
A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor (NEC)(pdf), shows a financially viable route could be developed. Upon its full build-out in 2040, high-speed train ridership would approach 18 million passengers with room to accommodate up to 80 million annually as demand increases in the years and decades that follow.