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California High-Speed Rail Authority Publishes 2018 Sustainability Report

California High-Speed Rail
Road 27 Grade Separation, Madera County,California © California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has published a report on how effectively it implemented the policies in its Sustainability Framework during 2017.

The authority requires all contractors working for it to use clean diesel engines, recycle steel and concrete from construction and demolition materials, and divert waste from landfill. The report confirms that 99% of all construction materials, including 100% of concrete and steel, were recycled and 118,000 tons of waste did not go to landfill in 2017.

The authority also reduced its use of nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, and avoided black carbon so that the harmful emissions produced by the site were 60% lower than the state average for construction projects. It offset the emissions that it did produce by developing an ‘Urban Forestry Program’ in collaboration with local organisations and schools.

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Brian Kelly, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said:

“Our goal is to create the greenest infrastructure project in the nation, both in its operations and its construction. Sustainability is integral to our policies and to how we conduct our day-to-day business.”

The report was produced by GRESB Infrastructure in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Global Reporting Initiative.

Rick Walters, Director of Infrastructure, GRESB, said:

“As a first mover in benchmarking its sustainability actions and performance, the Authority has demonstrated its commitment to ambitious leadership in helping the State accelerate the transition to a low carbon future.”

The report also notes the key roles that small businesses from disadvantaged communities in California have had in the design and build of the high-speed rail system. 115 of the 427 small businesses contracted by the authority are located in disadvantaged communities.

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The authority prepared for future high-speed rail stations by working with federal agencies to complete station area plans that comply with local and regional planning regulations required by SB 375 and Station Area Development Policies.

California High-Speed Rail is the first high-speed rail system in the USA. The first phase of the system will connect San Francisco to the Los Angeles Basin, before being extended to Sacramento and San Diego. The total network will cover 800 miles and include up to 24 stations between these points. Upon completion the system should significantly relieve congestion on the state’s highways.

The authority also recently announced the appointment of Boris Lipkin as Northern California Regional Director for the project.

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