California High-Speed Rail Authority Presents Revised Draft Business Plan

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has published its revised draft 2020 business plan that the public can review and comment on. The plan outlines a path for the completion of construction in the Central Valley.

The plan highlights the importance of getting high-speed trains into passenger service in California as quickly as possible, despite the significant impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which the Authority said was still causing “dynamic and unpredictable conditions … that affect every aspect of daily work”.

Governor Gavin Newsom said:

“At a time when job growth is needed most, California high-speed rail is putting thousands to work in good paying labor jobs in the Central Valley and making tremendous progress on construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail.

“Our goal is to get fast, electrified trains up and running in the Central Valley as soon as possible while leveraging other sources of funding to advance important, clean rail and transit work statewide. We’re confident that our federal partners in the Biden administration share our vision for electrified rail – we look forward to working with them to get it done.”

The business plan confirms the goal of creating an electrified high-speed railway between Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield in California’s Central Valley while continuing with environmental reviews and investments in local and regional infrastructure projects throughout the state.

Priorities for California’s High-Speed Railway

  • Completing the 119-mile Central Valley segment and lay track
  • Expanding the 119-mile segment to 171 miles to connect Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield, which are among California’s fastest-grown areas
  • Starting rolling stock testing by 2026–27 and having them in service by the end of the decade
  • Environmentally clearing all Phase 1 segments between San Francisco and Los Angeles / Anaheim
  • Advancing with the construction of the ‘book-end’ projects in LA and the Bay Area for which the Authority has committed funding
  • Pursuing further funding opportunities to expand high-speed rail services to the Bay area and Los Angeles / Anaheim as quickly as possible

The Acting Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose only today praised the project in California:

Amit Bose:

“America has a chance to lead the world once more through innovation in infrastructure-- connecting our communities, creating good jobs, addressing climate change and ensuring equity. Passenger rail development, including world-class high-speed rail, can and must be a part of our strategy to accomplish these goals. As in many other arenas, California has taken the lead nationally to advance high-speed rail, starting an economically transformative project in the Central Valley and assuming the challenges that come with that leadership. The U.S. Department of Transportation looks forward to partnering with California as it leads the way to build back better.”

The final 2020 Business Plan was to be issued to the California Legislature in December but because of the pandemic the final submission to the Legislature is now expected for April 2021. The public is able to comment on this revised business plan for a period of 30 days.

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