CHSRA awarded $25m in federal funding to advance high-speed rail in California

CHSRA have been awarded the grant money to advance its initial electrified service between Downtown Merced and Bakersfield.

High-Speed Rail awarded federal grant to improve infrastructure in Wasco

Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has been notified that it has been awarded $25 million in federal grant funding to advance the project beyond the 119-miles under construction and into downtown Merced. This grant was awarded through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant programme, and $25 million is the maximum grant award.

“This grant is vital for the Authority to advance its initial electrified service between Downtown Merced and Bakersfield, it reflects the strong state-federal partnership now in place to see the nation’s first true high speed rail service commence right here in California,” Brian Kelly, CEO for Authority, said. “Next week, our Board will consider awarding the contract to advance the design work for this transformative project.”

The funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation will provide more than half of the expected $41 million cost for the Madera to Merced design contract. That contract will be brought before the Authority’s Board of Directors during their two-day Board meeting next week for consideration.

This is the second grant the high-speed rail programme has received under the Biden Administration since November 2021. Last fall, California’s high-speed rail project was awarded $24 million for crucial safety, efficiency, and construction projects in and around the City of Wasco and State Route 46. Construction in the region will build safe, multimodal connectivity projects around Wasco to prepare for future high-speed rail service.

Authority is also pursuing $1.3 billion in federal grant funding to double-track the 119 miles currently under construction and purchase new, clean, electric train sets capable of speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. The funding requested by the Authority will help accelerate construction for electrified high-speed between Merced and Bakersfield by the end of the decade.

Since the start of construction, the California high-speed rail project has created more than 8,000 construction jobs, a majority of which go directly to those living in the Central Valley. There are currently 119 miles under construction in the Central Valley with more than 30 active construction sites.