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California High-Speed Rail Authority release 2022 Sustainability Report

CHSRA’s latest Sustainability Report details the key sustainability milestones that the company achieved between 1 January to 31 December 2021.

Train in California travelling towards its destination

Credit: hsr.ca.gov

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has released its latest Sustainability Report, detailing how the first-in-the-nation system serves as the backbone of the state’s ambitious climate goals.

“Sustainability is a core focus as we build the most technologically advanced, electrified and equitable transportation system to support the world’s fifth largest economy,” Margaret Cederoth, Director of Sustainability and Planning for CHSRA, said. “In pursuing carbon neutral objectives, CHSRA has meaningful targets toward which we aim our work. Our goal is to accelerate the delivery of the system’s value for communities, be it through small business participation or the delivery of public spaces in stations designed to revitalise California’s great cities. We’re also dedicated to restorative practices, such as preserving natural resources and valuable habitat.”

The Sustainability Report

Key milestones highlighted in this year’s report include:

  • Restoring more than 2,972 acres of habitat and protecting more than 3,190 acres of agricultural land
  • Planting more than 7,100 trees
  • Avoiding or sequestering 420,245 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing one natural gas-fired power plant from the grid for a year
  • Increasing small business participation to over 700 entities
  • Generating between $12.7 and $13.7 billion in total economic activity in the state, with 56 per cent investment in disadvantaged communities.

The annual report details the CHSRA’s efforts from 1 January to 31 December 2021, while capturing some data through the first part of 2022.

The 2022 Sustainability Report – Credit: CHSRA

A focus on sustainability

California’s electrified high-speed rail will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. The system will sustainably connect communities and give Californians an unprecedented alternative to vehicle travel. No mode of transportation delivers the speed and quality of trip at the same energy efficiency as high-speed rail.

In the Central Valley, with a population of more than 3 million, high-speed rail will cut travel times by more than half. Passengers can travel from Bakersfield to Merced in 56 minutes via high-speed rail, compared to 2.5 hours by car. A new, multimodal station in Merced will deliver connections to passenger rail services that create seamless travel from Bakersfield to the Bay Area and Sacramento regions. Integrated systems in Bakersfield will enable faster connections to the Los Angeles Basin, the Inland Empire and the rest of Southern California.