California High-Speed Rail Authority seeks more federal funding

Madera – Merced high-speed section

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has applied for new federal funding to advance construction and expedite important safety improvements of Madera – Merced high-speed section along the northern portion of rail line in the Central Valley.

“California’s transformative high-speed rail project will continue to improve the communities it serves. These federal funds would help construct the first part of the project’s Merced extension and support jobs and small businesses while enhancing economic development and improving mobility,” Brian Kelly, California High Speed Rail Authority CEO, said.

The grant funding for USD 450 million would help the authority to advance construction toward the city of Merced, a crucial portion of high-speed rail’s 275 km Merced to Bakersfield Central Valley section. Of the USD 450 million applied for, USD 446 million requested from the Federal Railroad Administration’s FY23 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program would fund work to extend the Madera – Merced high-speed section. Awards are expected to be announced this autumn.

If awarded, this request will advance the Merced extension by constructing 12.9 km of the extension from Madera to Merced and relocating utilities, advancing civil construction and track and systems that will connect with the 191.5 km Central Valley section already under construction.

Other costs for the project’s final design and right-of-way acquisition are being funded in part out of the record USD 3.1 billion Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail programme grant awarded in 2023. The remaining USD 4 million applied for would expand workforce training programmes for underserved students in the Central Valley through a partnership with Fresno State and also continue to fund the Central Valley Training Center in Selma, Fresno County, which to date has graduated 12 cohorts and 196 students pursuing careers in the building trades since 2020. Since the start of construction, CHSRA has created more than 13,000 construction jobs, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley. More than 70% of the jobs created go back to residents living in the Central Valley. On average, nearly 1,500 individuals are dispatched each day to a high-speed rail construction site.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has begun work to extend the 191.5 km currently under construction to 275 km of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are currently more than 25 active construction sites in the Valley, with the authority having also fully environmentally cleared 679 km of the high-speed rail programme from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.


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