California High-Speed Rail Project Moves Forward with Legal Settlement

April 19, 2013

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) on April 18 announced a legal settlement agreement that allows it to move forward with high-speed rail construction. The agreement brings to an end the final California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit challenging the Merced to Fresno project section Environmental Impact Report, and provides for the preservation of important farmland and mitigation of effects of high-speed rail construction on agricultural operations. It is estimated that developing the first segment of the Initial Operating Section of the system from Madera to Bakersfield will cost $6 billion.

By 2029, the system is expected to run trains from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. The project is estimated to cost more than $51 billion, using a combination of federal support, state, and private funds. See the Authority press release PDF.