California High-Speed Rail Authority Seeks New Federal Funds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California High-Speed Rail Authority has submitted three planning grant applications that could provide as much as $16.6 million in additional federal funding for the state’s high-speed train project.

The funds would pay for service development plans that would help keep the preparation of draft environmental documents and preliminary engineering documents on schedule in the Los Angeles to San Diego and Merced to Sacramento sections of the high-speed rail project and on the Altamont Corridor Rail Project. In addition, the Authority is also supporting the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in its effort to apply for rail plan grants.

California‘s high-speed train project is the biggest public infrastructure project in the nation,” Authority Chairman Curt Pringle said. “We’re already leading the pack in federal funding for high-speed rail, and we’re committed to fighting to bring every federal dollar possible to California. These new applications show we’re continuing to work hard to win additional support and keep high-speed rail on track.”

The applications will go to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which has $115 million available for planning and construction funds for high-speed intercity passenger rail under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act approved in 2008. Up to $50 million will be awarded in this round of funding.

The cities of Sacramento, Riverside, San Bernardino, Pomona, Ontario, El Monte, West Covina and Murrieta all expressed support for the Authority’s effort to garner federal funds to improve transportation alternatives in their regions, provide much-needed jobs and many other benefits.

“The high-speed train’s economic development and environmental benefits are significant and we want to bring it to Sacramento as soon as possible,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said. “I am strongly supportive of the High-Speed Rail Authority’s current effort to secure additional federal funding that will help us move the project forward more quickly.”

In addition, the effort has the support of the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, which operates the Altamont Commuter Express and is the Authority’s partner in the Altamont Corridor Rail Project.

Earlier this year, California received approval of $2.37 billion in federal funding, including $2.25 billion for planning and construction of the initial phase of the high-speed rail project, which will run 520 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco, via the Central Valley.