by Tiana May
06 May 2022
Three former US Transportation Secretaries, along with several labour unions, organisations, and businesses have signed a letter urging California State Senate and Assembly leaders to approve 4.2 billion USD in bond funding for California’s High-Speed Rail project.
Upon completion, the electric high-speed railway will connect Anaheim and Downtown Los Angeles with San Francisco via the Central Valley, aiding the nation’s efforts to decarbonise the transport industry.
The letter argues that high-speed rail is the most viable solution for overcoming California’s current dependency on oil, and the funding is therefore critical for advancing the state’s sustainability goals.
“The ongoing spike in gas prices shows that California voters were wise to vote in favor of Prop 1A in 2008. High-speed rail is how we break free from oil – as well as the enormous burdens it places on consumers, communities and the climate.”
The project was included in Governor Newsom’s proposed FY 2022–2023 budget. The letter argues that approving the proposed funding could mobilise even more financial support at the federal level, including billions of dollars in competitive grant opportunities from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This would accelerate work on the line’s initial segment in the Central Valley, while also advancing critical construction in the Los Angeles Basin and the Bay Area.
The letter also notes that the majority of California voters continue to support the construction of the high-speed rail project, citing a new Los Angeles Times – Berkeley poll in which 56 percent of registered voters in California stated they want to continue building the high-speed rail project.
The letter was signed by former US Department of Transportation Secretaries Ray LaHood, Anthony Foxx and Norman Mineta, as well as California transit advocate Rod Diridon.
In addition, other signatories included AECOM, the Bay Area Council, the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, the International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers International Union of North America, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, Northern California Carpenters Union, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Progressive Democrats of America, Rail Passengers Association, Teamsters Rail Conference, Transportation California, and the US High Speed Rail Association.
“This letter from major national unions, public interest groups, businesses, and public servants expresses our conviction that now is the time to turbocharge work on this vital project.”
The US High Speed Rail Coalition has sent the letter to state Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Amtrak has announced a pledge to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire network by 2045.
Progress Rail has been chosen to supply BNSF Railway with four EMD Joule battery electric locomotives and two charging systems.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) has announced that the K Line will open on 7 October 2022.
Caltrain has unveiled its new electric train cars – a key component of its electrification project. These will enter service in 2024.
Stadler has signed a MoU to design and deliver four zero emission hydrogen FLIRT trains for operation in California.
Stadler has unveiled its FLIRT H2 hydrogen train, which will be delivered to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority in 2023.
The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) has taken delivery of two new rail cars from Kawasaki as part of its improvement plan,
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released the draft environmental report for the Palmdale to Burbank section.
Sierra Northern Railway (SERA) has unveiled the look of its new zero emission hydrogen switching locomotive.
The US Department of Transportation has announced over $1.4 billion in consolidated rail infrastructure and safety improvement grant funding.
The MBTA has selected CAF to supply 102 Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) that will operate on the Green Line in the City of Boston.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has announced that trial testing for the Honolulu Rail System commenced on 29 August 2022.
The first two new Sounder S Line rail cars have arrived in Seattle as part of Sound Transit Board's 11-car order.
Caltrain reaches new milestone in its electrification project by energising its San Jose traction power substation with power from PG&E.
The US Department of Transportation has awarded over 233m USD to projects that will improve and modernise intercity passenger rail services.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors has approved the line's 43-mile section from San Francisco to San Jose.
Chicago's rail operator, Metra has signed a contract with Progress Rail to convert up to six diesel locomotives to battery power.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has approved design contracts for the line’s extension to Merced and Bakersfield.
Brightline has celebrated the 'topping-off' construction milestone for its Boca Raton station and parking garage in Florida.
Canadian Pacific has received regulatory clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment to combine CP and Kansas City Southern.
Governor Hochul joined the MTA at a ceremonial opening of the first section of the Long Island Rail Road's (LIRR) Main Line third track.
Brightline has been awarded a 25 million USD grant to enhance safety along the Florida East Coast Railway/Brightline corridor.
Amtrak has announced it will be making the entrance to New York Penn Station at 7th Avenue and 32nd Street more accessible.
California High Speed Railway has been awarded 25 million USD in federal RAISE Grant funding for the Merced Extension Design Project.
Patriot Rail Company LLC has entered into an agreement to acquire Pioneer Lines, which operates 15 short line railroads across 12 states.
Construction has started on the new Portal North Bridge, which will improve service, reliability and capacity along the Northeast Corridor.
BNSF has collaborated with Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) to open a new intermodal rail hub at the Port of Tacoma, Washington.
FTA has announced 1.75 billion USD in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to improve accessibility at rail and subway stations.
Brightline has welcomed the delivery of two Siemens Mobility trains to operate on the upcoming Orlando extension line.
Metrolink has put its first refurbished train car into service in California to enhance passenger comfort and safety.
Caltrain’s first electric trainset has completed clearance testing along the corridor between Santa Clara and Tamien Stations in San Jose.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released a Summer 2022 Construction Update to highlight progress on the high-speed rail project.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority and California Rail Builders have placed the final girders for the high-speed line in Kern County.
Amtrak has contracted Arup to produce the preliminary designs for the upcoming expansion of New York Penn Station.
Amtrak has taken up the option to order a further 50 Charger locomotives from Siemens Mobility as it continues to replace its fleet.
CRRC has delivered the first fully assembled and commissioned 7000-series metro train to the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA).
Amtrak has launched the procurement phase for the first of three major construction contracts for the B&P Tunnel Replacement Programme.
Metrolink's updated earthquake early warning system (EEW) automatically slows down and stop trains when an earthquake occurs.
Infrastructure improvements made by Amtrak have raised the speed trains can travel in parts of New Jersey.
California High-Speed Rail Authority shares final environmental impact report for the San Francisco-San Jose section of its project.
Union Pacific Railroad has joined RailPulse, becoming the coalition’s seventh member, joining companies such as GATX,TrinityRail and Watco.
Amtrak has committed approximately 130m USD to carry out infrastructure improvements between Washington DC and New York.
California High-Speed Rail Authority has submitted two applications for federal grant funding to help finance its high-speed train project.
The FRA has established a new Corridor Identification and Development (ID) Program to transform the nation's passenger rail network.
Hitachi Rail has launched its latest digital rail products at the 2022 Railway Systems Supplies Inc. Communication & Signalling exhibition.
The first locomotive to carry Amtrak’s new livery is making its inaugural journey across America, travelling from California from Delaware.
Alstom has signed a new contract to provide operations and maintenance services for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport’s APM system.
See pictures of the new Amtrak Acela interiors. The trains are being manufactured by Alstom in Hornell and Rochester, New York.
Hitachi Rail has chosen Washington County, Maryland as the location for its new $70m manufacturing site.
US Congress has passed a $1.5 trillion government funding bill that will provide increased resources to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Amtrak has recognised the Class 1 railroad Canadian Pacific as the best host railroad of 2021, keeping Amtrak passenger services on time.
Improvements to the Twin Cities, La Cross, Milwaukee and Chicago rail corridor have been given the green light thanks to a new federal grant.
A STB hearing has begun into whether Amtrak can operate a passenger rail service between Mobile and New Orleans along America’s Gulf Coast.
NCTD has awarded Siemens Mobility a 12-year maintenance contract for its fleet of Siemens Sprinter DMU vehicles.
Canadian National wants the Surface Transportation Board to order the divestiture of KCS's Springfield Line as part of the CP-KCS merger.
Amit Bose has been confirmed as the 15th Administrator of the United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Amtrak and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have signed an agreement to support each other’s expansion plans in North America.
Amtrak has announced that CEO Bill Flynn is retiring. Stephen Gardner will consequently be appointed as the company’s President and CEO.
CP has completed its purchase of KCS. This will lead to the creation of the only single-line railway linking the Canada, USA and Mexico.
Progress Rail, BNSF Railway and Chevron have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to demonstrate a hydrogen-powered locomotive.
The US Federal Railroad Administration has issued $198 million in funding to repair intercity passenger railroad infrastructure and assets.
Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have now received the necessary regulatory approval from Mexican authorities regarding their merger.
The first of three DMUs ordered from Stadler by the SBCTA has now left the manufacturer’s factory in Salt Lake City.
Brightline has begun testing its full operating train schedule between West Palm Beach and Miami in preparation for its return to service.
Hitachi Rail is displaying a series of new products aimed at freight railroads and passenger rail operators at the RSSI C&S Exhibition.
Metrolink will pilot a new technology designed to ensure the safe and rapid slowing and stopping of trains in the event of an earthquake.
Kansas City Southern’s (KCS) Board of Directors has deemed Canadian Pacific’s (CP) proposed merger agreement a ‘company superior proposal’.
Canadian Pacific is back in the running in its desire to merge with Kansas City Southern, following the STB's voting trust ruling for CN-KCS.
The Surface Transportation Board has unanimously decided to reject a voting trust as a mechanism in the proposed CN-KCS merger.
Siemens Mobility's battery hybrid S700 streetcars have entered service in Charlotte, North Carolina. They were ordered in 2016.
California High-Speed Rail Authority has approved the final EIR/EIS for the 80-mile Bakersfield to Palmdale project alignment section.
A new section of the MTA Coney Island Yard Complex is being fortified against extreme weather to make it more resilient to climate change.
Savage is partnering with Kansas City Southern (KCS) to construct a multi-commodity railport in Louisiana.
Renfe has joined the US High Speed Rail Association as a global VIP member, as part of its internationalisation strategy.
Kansas City Southern Board of Directors says the new Canadian Pacific offer is not superior to that made by Canadian National in May.
Canadian Pacific has increased its offer to Kansas City Southern to bring it closer to Canadian National's rival offer.
During a media announcement Brightline President Patrick Goddard confirmed services would resume in the first half of November.
CP has urged KCS shareholders to vote against approving a merger between KCS and CN before the STB decision on a voting trust is made.
California: Metrolink has certified the final environmental impact report for the Simi Valley Double Track project, a SCORE-funded project.
Siemens Mobility has signed a contract with Amtrak to manufacture a fleet of up to 83 multi-powered modern trains.
Alstom has been selected to provide its Cityflo 650 CBTC solution for the Miami-Dade Metromover automated people mover system.
Webuild and US subsidiary Lane Construction have signed the final agreement to build the US’ first true high-speed railway.
Canadian National Railway & Kansas City Southern Railway have filed documents requested by the STB in relation to their merger.
Brightline has passed the halfway mark on construction of its 170-mile track extension from Miami to Orlando.
Kansas City Southern has called Canadian National's acquisition bid superior to that made by Canadian Pacific, but the US DOJ has concerns.
Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn has told a Congressional Committee that America needs high-speed rail links as part of its railway infrastructure.
Canadian Pacific Railway has filed a formal objection with the Surface Transportation Board to the Canadian National Merger Waiver.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced 1.69 billion USD in relief funding for Amtrak in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hitachi Rail has joined the US High Speed Rail Association as a VIP Member in light of the Biden Administration's pro-rail stance.
Alstom will work with Long Island Rail Road for an eight-month period to test the feasibility of battery-electric traction on its network.
Canadian National has made a rival bid for Kansas City Southern and has filed a letter with the Surface Transportation Board.
Alstom has won a contract to operate and maintain the Skyway automated people mover system at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston.
Polly Trottenberg has been sworn in as Deputy Transportation Secretary, following her Senate confirmation (82-15) on 14 April 2021.
Almost 260 shippers and railroads have submitted letters of support to the STB for the proposed Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger.
Us President Biden has laid out his American Jobs Plan that will see more than $600 billion of spending on infrastructure, including rail.
Metra, Chicago's rail operator, has ordered 200 push-pull railcars from Alstom. The board approved a procurement of 500 units in total.
Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern, two Class 1 railroads, have agreed on a merger deal worth 29 billion USD.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has awarded Hitachi a contract for 256 8000-series railcars with options for 544 more.
Following increased demand and with the help of Congressional funding, Amtrak will restore daily services to 12 long-distance services.
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