The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on Dec. 5 awarded the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) nearly $3.1 billion in grant funding for continued progress on the country’s first electrified 220-mph high-speed rail system.
According to CHSRA, the grant, which was made possible by President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and is the largest the Authority has received, will “build on the project’s ongoing success, which has created more than 12,000 good paying union jobs to the region.”
The $3.073 billion will advance work in California’s Central Valley and include:
- Funding six electric trains for testing and use.
- Funding design of train facilities.
- Funding design and construction of the Fresno station.
- Funding final design and early works, including right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation on the extensions to Merced to Bakersfield.
- Funding construction in the Central Valley.
This most recent, and largest award received from the Biden-Harris Administration was made possible through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program (FSP-National). Over the last 12 months, CHSRA says it has “aggressively pursued and been successful in receiving federal funding under the Bipartisan IIJA.”
Nearly $202 million from the federal government was awarded in September to advance critical safety, grade separation work on the project, and in August, CHSRA was awarded another $25 million for the historic Fresno Depot and station site. With this award, CHSRA has received more than $3.3 billion in funding from this historic program.
In the last 12 months, CHSRA says it has showed continued progress statewide. In 2023, 10 structures were completed along the first 119-miles of construction and environmental progress has continued with 422 of the 500-mile project now environmentally cleared. In the spring, CHSRA crossed a major labor milestone, marking more than 10,000 labor jobs created, and this fall, entered into a major agreement with 13 rail labor unions for operation of the system. Procurements have advanced for trainsets procurement in August and design of track and systems in November.
With the southernmost 22-mile stretch of active construction currently on the verge of completion, CHSRA continues advanced design work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. The high-speed rail project has created more than 12,000 good-paying jobs since the start of construction, 70% of those going to Central Valley residents.
“I am proud to champion this historic federal investment for California High-Speed Rail,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). “California has never been afraid to take on big and bold challenges—including the development of the nation’s first true high-speed rail network. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and President Biden’s leadership, California has a partner in this effort to power our economy, reduce emissions and connect our communities through high-speed rail.”
Earlier this year, Senator Padilla and the late Senator Dianne Feinstein announced more than $200 million in grants for CHSRA through the DOT’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program.
Padilla also applauded the additional $3 billion awarded to the Brightline West Project, which will connect California and Nevada.
“Today’s grant announcement is helping modernize rail service beyond California High-Speed Rail. I applaud the substantial investment in the Brightline West Project, which will connect the Los Angeles region to Las Vegas,” added Senator Padilla. “Anyone who has sat in traffic on I-15 knows this is a corridor sorely in need of more transportation options.”
The $3 billion in funding for the Brightline West Project will support the establishment of a new 218-mile intercity passenger rail system between Las Vegas, Nevada and Rancho Cucamonga, California by funding right-of-way acquisition, final design, and construction activities for the high-speed rail tracks, four stations and facilities, signal system, rolling stock, roadway modifications, and other associated infrastructure.