The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has issued its Draft 2020 Business Plan, which maintains the policy recommendation to the Authority’s Board to develop a clean, electrified high-speed rail line, for the public to review and comment on.
The business plan focuses on the development of the new high-speed line with the funding currently available, as well as outlining major programme progress in all three regions of the state – Northern California, Central Valley and Southern California. Most notably, the plan estimates costs consistent with estimates contained within the 2018 Business Plan and 2019 Project Update Report.
Multiple priorities are outlined within the Draft 2020 Business Plan:
- Complete the 119 mile Central Valley construction segment and lay track pursuant to the federal funding grant agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
- Expand the 119 mile Central Valley segment to 171 miles of operable electrified high-speed rail, connecting Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield
- Commence testing of electrified high-speed trains by 2025 and put those trains into operation by 2028-29
- Environmentally clear all segments of the Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim within the next 18 to 24 months
- Complete the projects that the Authority has committed funding to in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, currently valued at over $3 billion
- Pursue additional funding opportunities to prospectively ‘close the gaps’ and expand electrified high-speed rail services to the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim.
Brian Kelly, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said: “This plan outlines how this programme will advance to meet California’s mobility, environmental and economic objectives. We are in an exciting time for this project and the electrification of transportation in California. In 2020, there will be 350 miles of electrified high-speed rail in development. In the next 18 to 24 months, we will work to environmentally clear the full Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim. This transformation is well underway in California. Now is not the time to turn back.”
The Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail interim service line in California’s Central Valley will aim to advance California’s leadership in building a modern, clean, and sustainable transportation system.