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California's high-speed rail project ranks among top sustainable projects

California's high-speed rail project received five stars for sustainability from the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment.
Photo – CHSRA Facebook


California's high-speed rail project ranks among the top rail projects for sustainability in North America, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) announced this week.

The project received five stars for sustainability from the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment, a benchmark for environmental, social and governance policies, practices and performance of infrastructure investments.

"It is great to see California’s High-Speed Rail Authority continuing to report to GRESB to benchmark its performance against similar infrastructure projects and assets, and against the entire GRESB dataset annually,” said GRESB Infrastructure Director Rick Walters in a press release. “This ongoing commitment to sustainability is affirmed further this year by California’s project moving back up into the top quintile and therefore receiving a five-star rating."

The CHSRA's track record on sustainability, as measured by GRESB, "will surely position the asset well when it comes to attracting private sector investment in the future," Walters added.

Meanwhile, the CHSRA released an annual sustainability report covering its efforts between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018. 

The report, which was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards Core Option — a widely adopted sustainability reporting framework — lists sustainability milestones from 2018, including:

  • working with the California Farmland Conservancy Program to secure 273 deeded acres of agricultural land for conservation;
  • working in partnership with cities along the alignment, including San Jose, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Millbrae and Fresno, on city building at stations;
  • preserving and restoring more than 2,600 acres of natural habitat;
  • awarding grant funding to the California Urban Forests Council, leading to 1,200 trees planted in the Central Valley and 750 trees being planted in Southern California cities including Glendale, South Los Angeles, Paramount and Norwalk to help offset greenhouse gas emission;
  • avoiding nearly 70,000 pounds of criteria air pollutants during construction;
  • continuing the progress on recycling construction materials, keeping more than 21,000 tons of material out of landfills; and
  • creating $7.6 billion in total economic activity across the state.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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