To "fulfill its biennial requirement to update the California Legislature on the development and implementation of intercity high-speed rail service," the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has issued its 2023 Project Update Report.
The Report (download below), issued on March 1, also fulfills the CHSRA’s commitments made in its 2022 Business Plan to provide the following updates:
- Baseline budget and schedule.
- Capital cost estimates.
- Funding strategy.
- Ridership forecasts.
- Environmental clearance.
- Steps to advance design on extensions to Merced and Bakersfield and Central Valley stations.
According to the Report the Authority, whose mission is to “deliver an electrified high-speed rail system that will carry passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in under three hours,” has secured $3.5 billion in federal funds since California voters first approved an initial down payment of $9 billion in 2008 to build the system. Additionally, the State has provided annual appropriations of Cap-and-Trade Program funds, a program which expires in 2030.
According to the Report, major accomplishments in 2022 include:
- Environmental clearance for all segments between San Francisco and Palmdale (Los Angeles County) and between Burbank and Los Angeles– 422 miles.
- On the 119-mile Central Valley Segment under construction:
- 100% of the design work on the civil infrastructure has been completed.
- 71% of all utility relocations were complete in progress.
- 96% of the right-of-way was delivered to contractors.
- The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant agreement was amended, aligning CHSRA’s revised schedule with its federal partner’s expectations.
- Contracts were awarded to begin advanced design work on the extensions to Bakersfield and to Merced.
- Contract was awarded to begin design work on the four Central Valley stations delivered by the Authority–Merced, Fresno, Kings/Tulare and Bakersfield.
Upcoming milestones in 2023 include:
- More than 10,000 jobs created since construction commenced.
- Construction Package 4 will reach substantial completion by summer.
- Palmdale to Burbank environmental document to be certified in the fourth quarter.
- Design for the Bakersfield and Merced extensions to reach draft configuration footprint (30% design) by the fourth quarter–with a right-of-way acquisition plan, utility relocation plan and third-party agreements identified.
- New strategy for procuring the track and systems completed and Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to the Board of Directors.
Additionally, the report includes new cost figures for the 171-mile initial segment, which has shot up to a high of $35 billion, exceeding secured funding by $10 billion.
According to a KVPR report, the cost of that partial system is “now higher than the $33 billion estimate for the entire 500-mile Los Angeles to San Francisco system when voters approved a bond in 2008,” and the full system cost is set at up to $128 billion in the update, “leaving a funding gap of more than $100 billion for politicians to ponder.”
DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT BELOW: