California High-Speed Rail Recommits to Bakersfield-to-Merced Segment

The California High-Speed Rail Authority also certified the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the San Francisco to San Jose section of the route in August.

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 31, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

“The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors announced on Wednesday that they approved the  continued construction of the network into both Merced and Bakersfield,” reports Evan Symon for California Globe.

Construction between Bakersfield and Merced is already underway, but the recent infusion of federal funding for the project, including $25 million in RAISE grant funding for the project in downtown Merced, made it easier for the California High-Speed Rail Authority to award two construction contracts for continued work.

“The Authority awarded the $41 million Merced to Madera extension design contract to Stantec Consulting Services Inc. which covers approximately 33.9 miles with 40 structures,” explains Symon. “The $44.9 million Fresno to Bakersfield (Locally Generated Alternative) extension contract was awarded to HNTB and covers approximately 18.5 miles between the cities of Shafter and Bakersfield in Kern County with 31 structures.” 

In another big development for the project, the Authority also announced on August 18 that it had certified the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the San Francisco to San Jose section of the route. As reported by Dustin Gardiner for the San Francisco Chronicle [paywall], the approval of the Final EIR/EIS means that 400 miles of the planned 520-mile route have now been granted environmental clearance for construction.

The Authority is claiming that recent progress on the project could allow trains to operate in the state’s Central Valley by 2029.

Thursday, August 18, 2022 in California Globe

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