California High-Speed Rail Authority releases Draft 2020 Business Plan

The plan includes completing the 119-mile Central Valley construction segment

February 19, 2020
California High-Speed Rail Authority bullet train
Rendering of a possible California high-speed train concept. Image: California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) recently issued its Draft 2020 Business Plan for public review and comment.

The plan affirms the policy recommendation to the CHSRA board to develop a clean, electrified Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail interim service line in California’s Central Valley with the funding currently available. The plan also outlines major program progress in all three regions of the state—Northern California, Central Valley, and Southern California.

“This plan outlines how this program will advance to meet California’s mobility, environmental, and economic objectives,” CHSRA CEO Brian Kelly said in a statement. “We are in an exciting time for this project and the electrification of transportation in California. In 2020, there will be 350 miles of electrified high-speed rail in development. In the next 18 to 24 months, we will work to environmentally clear the full Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim. This transformation is well underway in California. Now is not the time to turn back.”

The 2020 Business plan outlines the following priorities:

  • Complete the 119-mile Central Valley construction segment and lay track pursuant to federal funding grant agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration.
  • Expand the 119-mile Central Valley segment to 171 miles of operable electrified high-speed rail connecting Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield.
  • Commence testing of electrified high-speed trains by 2025 and put those trains in service by 2028-29.
  • Environmentally clear all segments of the Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim in the next 18-24 months.
  • Complete the “bookend” projects we have committed funding to in Los Angeles and the Bay Area—projects valued at more than $3 billion.
  • Pursue additional funding opportunities to prospectively “close the gaps” and expand electrified high-speed rail service to the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim.

In the 2020 Business Plan, the CHSRA has listed some notable achievements since the last business plan: More than 3,500 construction workers have been dispatched to work on the high-speed rail program in the Central Valley since the start of construction; there are currently over 500 small businesses that have worked with high-speed rail; From July 2006 to June 2019, there has been an investment of $5.7 billion in planning and building, resulting in $8.1 to $9.2 billion in economic output; and there have been 36 active or completed construction sites in the Central Valley, which is an increase of 17 over the past year.

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SOURCE: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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