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USDOT Awards $6 Billion Grant for California High-Speed Rail Lines

California High-Speed Rail Authority

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has allocated $6 billion in grants for two significant high-speed rail projects in California. On December 5, officials announced grants of $3.1 billion for the California High-Speed Rail construction and $3 billion for the Brightline West project, connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.

The $3.1 billion grant for the California High-Speed Rail Authority aims to accelerate progress on the 119-mile Central Valley segment. Currently, 26 projects are underway in this region, and the funds will be utilized for the construction of a Fresno station, final design and early works between Merced and Bakersfield, as well as the design of other train facilities.

The plan involves establishing an electrified rail line from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento, allowing trains to reach speeds of up to 220 mph. While this grant is the largest received by the authority to date, it represents only a fraction of the estimated total cost, which ranges from $25.7 billion to $35.3 billion.

California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin said in a statement that the record grant, “sends a clear message that America is serious about high-speed rail, starting right here in California.” The project has made significant strides, completing work on 10 structures this year and securing environmental approvals for 422 out of the planned 500 miles of rail line. Construction has utilized 10,000 union workers so far.

The grant for Brightline West “will serve as a foundation for a new industry, and a remarkable project that will serve as the blueprint for how we can repeat this model throughout the country,” said Wes Edens, founder and chair of Brightline, in a statement.  Brightline West involves a 218-mile electrified rail line connecting Las Vegas to Rancho Cucamonga, California. Passengers will then have the option to connect to Los Angeles Union Station via Metrolink regional rail service. The estimated project cost is $12 billion, with construction expected to commence next year and a projected completion time of four years.

Funding for both grants originates from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant program.

Read full story on Engineering News- Record

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