California High-Speed Rail gets $4.2 billion in new money

By Catrin JonesJuly 09, 2022

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has received $4.2 billion in new funding for construction of the first portion of a system located in the Central Valley, connecting Merced and Bakersfield.

The money comes from California’s new $307.9-billion state budget. The project was initiated back in 2008 and was originally scheduled to open in 2029, but it has been beset by a number of delays and disagreements.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority claims the high-speed rail project has created more than 5,500 “good-paying” jobs since construction in the Central Valley began, with more than 35 construction sites active along the bullet train system’s first 119 miles.

In related news, a 49-mile section of Brightline West is proposed to connect Las Vegas to Southern California, creating up to 40,000 construction jobs starting as soon as soon as 2023.

Regarding the Central Valley line, a budget surplus meant that the California legislature was able to come to an agreement to release $4.2 billion in bond funds that would be used to finish the 171-mile rail.

It was estimated at the start of the project that it would cost a total of $33 billion but slow land purchases, delays and litigation mean very little has been done on the project over the last 14 years.

The railway project is now anticipated to cost more than $113 billion and there is no funding reported for further connections between Bakersfield and Los Angeles or San Jose and Merced.

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