California Approves Start of $4 Billion High-Speed Rail Line
California has decided to begin its high-speed rail line in the Central Valley.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board voted on December 2 to begin construction in the Central Valley of a new high-speed rail corridor linking Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. The decision to begin the 65-mile stretch followed a mandate from the Federal Railroad Administration that all federal funding awarded to the project so far must be dedicated to a single portion of the project in the Central Valley. This initial segment will use about $4.15 billion of the available $4.3 billion to build two new stations, acquire rights-of-way, construct viaducts, prepare the site, grade the course of the new line, restore vegetation, build rail bridges, realign roadways, and relocate existing railways and utilities. No construction can begin until the authority completes its environmental reviews of the project. The federal deadline for completing these reviews is September 2011, and construction is expected to begin in 2012 and finish in 2017.
Earlier this year on January 28, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation was awarding $8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to 31 states to develop the nation's first high-speed rail service. California is seeking to build a passenger line with trains running up to 220 miles per hour. See the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board press release and coverage of the presidential announcement in EERE Network News.