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California to receive $6 billion federal investment toward stalled high-speed rail project

By ONME News

Back in 2008 on the ballot, California voters approved part of the funding to build the nation’s first high-speed railway--an electric train that would connect the Central Valley to Los Angeles and San Francisco in just a frew hours.

As reported by CNBC, in May 2023,15 years later, there has not been a single mile of track laid, and there was not enough money to finish the project. According to the article, estimates showed that it would cost up to $128 billion to complete the entire system from LA to San Francisco.

California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO, Brian Kelly told CNBC that the controversial project thus far has cost $9.8 billion, and that there has been a funding gap ever since they started the project. So far a 119 miles are being constructed.


Now, California has a little help from the federal government; the Biden-Harris Administration is awarding $6 billion to the state to build high-speed rail, investing in the whole system – San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Central Valley, creating connectivity north, south and with our neighbors to the east.  


California High-Speed Rail Authority will receive nearly $3.1 billion for construction in the Central Valley, supporting the overall end goal of connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles. Another important rail project, Brightline, will receive $3 billion to connect Los Angeles to Las Vegas with 80% of the project’s construction in California benefiting the state’s economy and labor market. 


“California is delivering on the first 220-mph, electric high-speed rail project in the nation,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “This show of support from the Biden-Harris Administration is a vote of confidence in today’s vision and comes at a critical turning point, providing the project new momentum.” 


The $3.1 billion for California High-Speed Rail Authority is the single largest grant for the program and comes from President Biden’s historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 


Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced $8.2 billion in new funding for 10 major passenger rail projects across the country, including the first world-class high-speed rail projects in U.S. history. Key selected projects include: building a new high-speed rail system between California and Nevada, which will serve more than 11 million passengers annually; creating a high-speed rail line through California’s Central Valley to ultimately link Los Angeles and San Francisco, supporting travel with speeds up to 220 mph; delivering significant upgrades to frequently-traveled rail corridors in Virginia, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia as well.

"You know, nearly every day for 36 years as senator, I told you, I took that train back and forth to Washington," said President Joe Biden. "Three-hundred-mile round trip. It took four hours, sum total, from the time I left the house and got back to the house in my — each way.

You know, I did it for my family. But I came to see how train travel opens an enormous possibility for the nation. Rail connections — it connects jobs and opportunities for people. It gets goods to market, traffic off the street, travelers on the move."

"Railroads made America a force in commerce and innovation in the world, uniting the country, building the most powerful economy ever in the history of the world. And over time, though, we fell behind."


This 171-mile rail corridor will support high-speed travel with speeds up to 220mph, improving connectivity and increasing travel options, along with providing more frequent passenger rail service, from the Central Valley to urban centers in northern and Southern California. New all-electric trainsets will produce zero emissions and be powered by 100% renewable energy.

By separating passenger and freight lines, this project is said to benefit freight rail operations throughout California as well. It will also create over 11,000 union construction jobs and has committed to using union labor for operations and maintenance.


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