Sixty years ago, construction workers in the San Joaquin Valley began two major infrastructure projects that did much to build modern California: the State Water Project and Interstate 5. Backed by strong support in Sacramento, including adequate funding, the freeway connected drivers to Los Angeles in 1972, and the aqueduct began delivering water to Southern California in 1973. Today another major infrastructure project rises in the San Joaquin Valley. The high-speed rail project is as essential to 21st-century California as the aqueducts and interstates were to the 20th century, enabling fast travel powered by clean energy to some of the state’s most populated places. Countries around the world have built or expanded their high-speed rail systems in recent years, carrying large numbers of passengers and reducing the need for carbon-intensive travel by airplanes or cars.