News & Reviews News Wire California high speed project seeks $450 million in federal funds

California high speed project seeks $450 million in federal funds

By Trains Staff | May 30, 2024

High speed authority releases final environmental documents for route’s Palmdale-Burbank segment

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High speed train in tunnel
A rendering of a California High Speed Rail train entering a tunnel in the Tehachapi Mountains. The high speed project has released the environmental report for its Palmdale-Burbank segment, which will also include extensive tunneling. California High-Speed Rail Authority

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California High Speed Rail Authority has applied for $450 million in federal grants to continue construction of the project in the state’s Central Valley. Some $446 million of that would come from the Federal Railroad Administration Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

The Authority has also released the final environmental document for the Southern California segment between Palmdale and Burbank, the last environmental document needed for the full San Francisco-Los Angeles route.

“These federal funds would help construct the first part of the project’s Merced extension and support jobs and small businesses while enhancing economic development and improving mobility,” Brian Kelly, the authority’s CEO, said in a press release.

Specifically, the funds would help pay for construction of 8 miles of the extension from Madera to Merced, Calif., as well as utility relocation and advancing other elements of the project to connect to the 119-mile Central Valley segment already under construction. It is part of the authority’s work to extend to 119 miles currently under construction to 171 miles, running from Merced to Bakersfield.

The environmental document for the approximately Palmdale-Burbank segment will be presented to the authority’s board of directors for consideration at a meeting June 26-27. The segment will include approximately 30 miles of tunneling, including some 28 miles through the mountains between the San Fernando and Antelope valleys. The final document includes analysis of six potential routes as well as the no-build alternative; the preferred alternative is an approximately 38-mile route mostly following State Route 14. It would be underground through the community of Acton and much of the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The full document is available here.

“This is a huge milestone for the project and it represents the culmination of years of analysis and stakeholder engagement to connect high-speed rail between two of the state’s major metropolitan centers, San Francisco and Los Angeles,” Kelly said in a press release. “With board approval, the project will have environmental clearance for 463 miles of the Phase 1 system between downtown San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles.”

Map of potential high speed rail routes between Palmdale and Burbank, Calif.
The potential California High Speed Rail routes between Palmdale and Burbank. California High-Speed Rail Authority

10 thoughts on “California high speed project seeks $450 million in federal funds

  1. Charles is right again in this massive project that should have been constructed in smaller steps and in the right places and with some federal aid, not the whole freaking thing. That is the problem with California and many democratically run states. They think big with no idea of where the money is coming from, except to hold their hands out to the public trough and ask the Federal government to fork over. The only great thing in this regard is that with the mass exodus of residents to areas around the nation not named California, their impact in the rest of the nation is dwindling and will continue to get smaller until they have no say at all, at least compared with their importance in politics now…

  2. This project is for a high-speed rail link between SF and LA. Is there a viable estimate of the elapsed trip time (with all stops) between these two points when complete, and how does that compare with a normal highway trip? What will we actually get for this money? And how will the fare for a family of four compare with the cost of a typical car trip? (Query? Will all cars be electric by the year this project is complete?

    1. How can they calculate a trip time, if they haven’t decided where its going to go in many places?

  3. Kudos to the spot-on, if rather straightforward (some might say “blunt”) remarks by Mr. Landey in the several above posts.

    I would go one further to Mr. Landey’s remarks to state that not only should everyone from the Cal HSR project be dismissed, but the entire Cal-HSR program should be eliminated, once and forever. This epic boondoggle of a debacle IS NOT what was promised to the voters back in the 2008 voter initiative (wasn’t it supposed to be completed by 2020, four–years ago?).

    And, as the article notes, this $450M federal grant request is to help continue construction on the CENTRAL VALLEY section (Merced-area-to-Bakersfield), which was supposed to be THE EASY portion of the project to complete -(Thus why they started in the central valley FIRST?).

    Yes, California is a truly broken and dysfunctional state (not “broken” yet, but definitely heading in that direction). There should not be one more dime (or nickel) of federal money spent on this truly ridiculous (and failed) boondoggle of a project.

    1. Correction: I meant to say “Failed” in the parenthesis, not “Broken” (which California clearly is right now …)

  4. They say that a boat is a hole that you throw gobs of money into. Politicians like to spread “pork” to their pet projects.

    If that is the case, the CalHSR project is an ocean liner floating on a river of pork fat.

    Unlike the Feds, states cannot run a deficit. California is facing a $74 billion budget deficit. An Auditor’s report indicates the state cannot account for $24 billion in “homeless money.” You want me to believe that a state, one that cannot manage its own budget, should get any more of OPM for this project?

  5. The Palmdale to Burbank segment is many years in the future. The initial operating segment from Merced to Bakersfield is well underway, many of the structures are already completed. To say that a shovelful of earth has not been moved already is not truthful. I continue to support this project 100%.

    1. Matthew — It should be rather obvious from my post that I was referring to construction of the segment in question, the Burbank – Los Angeles end. Obviously I know that construction is well underway, perhaps nearing completion, in the Central Valley. I do, after all, read Trains Magazine.

      I would be interested why you “support this project 100% percent” when it will not reach Burbank, LA, San Jose or San Francisco for many many years — if ever.

      Finally, Matthew, California can do whatever it wants with its own tax money. That this project is subsidized by federal taxes paid in the other 49 states is so far beyond a scandal that I can’t even find the words.

      I live in Wisconsin, a state that finishes its transportation projects — rail and highway — on time on budget. The federal government is hopelessly broken. The state government in Sacramento is even worse.

  6. CalHSR is STILL conducting route alternative analysis Palmdale to Burbank. I remember how you guys (some of you) criticized me for pointing this out, that CalHSR literally didn’t have a chosen route into Burbank. Some of you piled it on me for telling the truth.

    In terms of highway construction, the total completion of a route alternative is needed before the first acquisition of property or the first order of utility relocation. Which means anywhere from two to four years of preliminaries before the first shoveful of earth can be turned. That’s highway construction. I’m not confident that the CalHSR clowns could move even that fast.

    I will continue to state the truth, which is that CalHSR long since passed the point where it could lay claim to federal funding. Continue (some of you) to crticize me for telling the truth. I will continue to post the truth until everyone in charge of CalHSR is dismissed from employment.

    1. I wouldn’t approve a single penny of federal tax dollars until the entire cadre of grifters and thieves who have mismanaged this project and enriched themselves and their cronies in the process are in jail, and Gov. Newsome and his gang of fiscal morons are long since gone from office. Nice job, Governor, on the minimum wage bill, the disappearance of $24 BILLION from your homeless program funding, and continually releasing child sex traffickers back out on the streets because of their skin color, as we found out today, you freaking idiot.

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