CHSRA apply for federal funding to advance construction toward Bakersfield

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has applied for new federal funding to expedite important safety improvements along the rail line in the Central Valley.

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

Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) – the organisation responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the United States’ first high-speed rail system – has applied for $67 million in grant funding for improvements to six current railroad grade crossings in the city of Shafter, California.

“The nation’s first high-speed rail system will improve the communities it serves,” Brian Kelly, CEO of CHSRA, said. “These federal funds will enhance safety in Shafter and prepare the community for high-speed rail construction – supporting living wage jobs, providing small business opportunities, enhancing economic development, and improving mobility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The $67 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration’s FY22 Railroad Crossing Elimination Program will begin eliminating six at-grade crossings of the BNSF freight railroad within the city of Shafter. This request will advance the Bakersfield Extension by:

  • Constructing two grade separations at Poplar Avenue and Riverside Avenue
  • Completing design and purchasing right-of-way for four additional grade separations at Fresno Avenue, Shafter Avenue, Central Avenue, and East Lerdo Highway
  • Continuing to fund the Central Valley Training Center in Selma, California.

If awarded, these funds would go toward work on the first major structures in the Central Valley outside the current 119 miles under construction, a major milestone in connecting to Bakersfield.

This next step in partnership with the federal government will leverage state funding, improve the health and safety of communities, provide for promising economic opportunities for local trades people, eliminate crossings frequently blocked by trains, and reduce the impacts that freight movement and railroad operations have within this historically disadvantaged community.

CHSRA also has a pending federal grant application pursuing approximately $1.0 billion to purchase new, clean, electric trains capable of speeds in excess of 200mph, to advance design on Bakersfield and Merced Extensions, to complete a full double-track system on the initial 119-mile segment; and to construct stations. These federal funds will help accelerate construction of electrified high-speed rail between Merced and Bakersfield by the end of the decade.

Already, 422 of the project’s 500 miles between San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim are environmentally cleared. Since the start of construction, the project has created more than 8,600 construction jobs, with a majority going to Central Valley residents.

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