California Budget Includes $4.2 Billion for High-Speed Rail

The recently approved state budget directs $4.2 billion in bond funding to the Bakersfield-to-Merced leg of California’s long-awaited high-speed rail project.

1 minute read

July 5, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

California’s high speed rail project received a boost as its Central Valley segment, running from Bakersfield to Merced, was allocated $4.2 billion in the recently approved state budget. As Jay Barmann reports in SFist, “Governor Gavin Newsom said when he took office that, as a state, we had to focus on finishing this phase first, and hopefully funds for the complicated connection between Bakersfield and Los Angeles, and the also complex San Jose-to-Merced route, will materialize in the coming years.” The California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the 90-mile San Jose-to-Merced segment in April.

The embattled project has faced a series of cost overruns and delays, as well as criticism of the decision to build the Central Valley portion first. “The cost of the high-speed rail project has ballooned over the decade and a half since voters first approved it — from $45 billion to $113 billion, and this only includes the LA to SF route, and not planned extensions to Sacramento and San Diego.” With the new funding in place, segments of the Bakersfield to Merced segment could begin service in the next four to five years, with the San Jose-to-Merced segment scheduled for completion in 2031.

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