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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

California Legislature signs off on bond sale for high-speed rail project


On July 6, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 1029, which appropriates federal grant funds and Proposition 1A funds for California’s high-speed rail project. The California Assembly approved the bill on July 5.

The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in bonds, including $2.6 billion to build a 130-mile initial construction segment in the Central Valley. The bond sale will provide matching funds for $3.2 billion in federal dollars that have been allocated for the project.

“The Legislature’s action sets in motion a statewide rail modernization plan for California,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard in a prepared statement. “Not only will California be the first state in the nation to build a high-speed rail system to connect our urban centers, we will also modernize and improve rail systems at the local and regional level.”

The Obama Administration — which had been pressuring California legislators to take action on the bill quickly so CHSRA could launch construction in time to meet federal deadlines associated with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds — commended the Legislature for approving the bill.

“With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a prepared statement. “The construction of high-speed rail in California will generate thousands of jobs and business opportunities … [and] will ultimately deliver fast, efficient, reliable service between San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles Basin in less than three hours.”

In the months leading up to the Legislature’s vote, CHSRA officials worked to address legislators’ concerns and revise construction plans so transit improvements and upgrades were made at the local and regional levels, as well. For an in-depth look at how Richard and other CHSRA leaders worked to gain more support for the project, read an article published in Progressive Railroading’s June issue, available by clicking here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/9/2012