California high-speed rail gets US$ 928 million boost

By Helen Wright24 November 2011

The US government has approved US$ 928 million in funding to help support construction of the first segment of the California high-speed rail project.

The Federal Railroad Administration funds have been made available to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) for the design and construction of the project's Central Valley segment - a 130 mile (210 km) stretch from Bakersfield in California's central valley to just south of Merced.

The news comes after a new CHSRA business plan released earlier this month put the cost of building the state's proposed new rail network at between US$ 65.4 billion and US$ 74.5 billion for the first phase. The previous estimate was US$ 36.4 billion in 2010 Dollars.

This figure is for Phase 1 of the project, which comprises a 520 mile (840 km) high-speed railway route from San Francisco's Merced station to Union Station in Los Angeles and the regional Transportation Center in Anaheim.

CHSRA chairman Thomas Umberg said, "The announcement of the federal funds makes good on the promise of our new draft business plan that the funding for the first segment is identified, committed and we are moving forward."

CHSRA said all necessary federal funding had been secured for the design and construction of the project's initial segment in the Central Valley - to date the project has been awarded a total of US$ 3.5 billion in federal funding.

Construction is scheduled to begin next autumn in Fresno.

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