Draft business plan issued to develop sustainable transportation system

The CHSRA have issued its Draft 2022 business plan for public review and comment, which outlines plans to build a clean, electrified high-speed rail system in the Central Valley.

Authority issue 2022 Draft business plan to develop sustainable transportation system

Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority

As California takes the lead in building a modern, clean and sustainable transportation system, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has issued its Draft 2022 Business Plan for public review and comment. The release of the draft plan comes just 10 months after the Authority’s Board of Directors approved the final 2020 Business Plan.

The Draft 2022 Business Plan reaffirms staff’s policy recommendation to the Authority Board to develop a clean, electrified Merced to Bakersfield high-speed rail interim service line as soon as possible in California’s Central Valley with the funding currently available. The plan also discusses major programme progress in Northern California, the Central Valley and Southern California, as well as addresses areas of opportunity with new federal funding and pending Legislative approval of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Transportation Infrastructure Package, including Proposition 1A bond funding for high-speed rail.

The Draft 2022 Business Plan builds on the Authority’s mission and guiding principles, specifically outlining how new funding will allow the Authority to deliver an electrified, two-track initial operating segment connecting Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield as soon as possible, invest state-wide to advance engineering and design work as every project section is environmentally cleared, leverage new federal and state funds for targeted state-wide investments that benefit local service providers and advance high-speed rail in California.

The plan highlights how new state and federal funding would enable the Authority to further advance the programme state-wide, such as making capital investments to improve mobility and connect high-speed rail with existing passenger rail and transit services. It also updates the Authority’s budget and capital cost estimates for segments with recently approved environmental documents to account for numerous mitigation measures to address community concerns.

High-speed rail continues to be an economic engine for the state, creating over 7,300 construction jobs in the Central Valley and partnering with more than 650 small businesses since the start of construction. Nearly 300 of the 500-mile Phase 1 System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim has also been environmentally cleared, including a contiguous stretch between Merced and Palmdale plus last month’s clearance of the Burbank to Los Angeles section.

By mid-2022, Authority expects to have environmentally cleared 422 miles, with Board action expected on the final Records of Decision on the two Northern California sections between San Francisco and Merced. The Authority’s last two project sections, Palmdale to Burbank and Los Angeles to Anaheim, will advance in 2023.