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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

CHSRA allocates $30 million in HSR funds to southern California


Yesterday, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) announced it will set aside more than $30 million in federal high-speed rail funds for property acquisition and railway development in the Los Angeles area.

CHSRA is allocating the funds through a $2.3 billion grant agreement signed with the Federal Railroad Administration last month. The agreement outlines how the authority will use money received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The authority still hasn’t determined how it will use the funds, but CHSRA and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) officials have said some of the money could be used to acquire the Los Angeles Union Station property, where three high-speed rail segments would converge. Purchasing the station site also would benefit other area transit systems. CHSRA and LACMTA could revamp the station to improve operations for LACMTA light-rail, Amtrak and Metrolink commuter-rail services.

“Even as we plan to begin construction in the Central Valley — the backbone of the statewide system — we must also steer start-up funding in urban areas like L.A. to ensure that regional agencies can begin to set the stage for the arrival of high-speed rail while also benefitting existing infrastructure,” said CHSRA Chief Executive Officer Roelof van Ark in a prepared statement.

CHSRA still is conducting design and environmental work for three segments in southern California: Palmdale-Los Angeles, Los Angeles-Anaheim and Los Angeles-San Diego.

The authority’s grant agreement also includes $500,000 each for station design work in Merced and Bakersfield, and $4.5 million for station-area planning in cities such as Fresno, Visalia/Kings, Bakersfield, Merced, Palmdale, Gilroy and San Jose.