Politico Pro: Biden administration gives California high-speed rail projects $6 billion

By Blanca Begert

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration announced more than $6 billion in grants today for rail projects in California, including some $3 billion for the state’s high-speed rail project.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority will get $3.1 billion to support the 200-mph high-speed line under construction in California’s Central Valley, as well as new sections to connect Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Money will fund projects in Bakersfield, Hanford, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Selma, Shafter, and Wasco. These include right-of-way acquisition for the extension from Madera to Merced, an extension in Bakersfield and the construction of a station in Fresno.

An additional $3 billion will go to the private Brightline West Project, which aims to connect California and Nevada with a high speed train in time for the 2028 Olympics and could break ground this year with federal funding.

The money will come from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program.

“California has never been afraid to take on big and bold challenges — including the development of the nation’s first true high-speed rail network,” said Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), of the line that has been in development for 15 years and with a current funding gap close to $100 billion.

Padilla and 32 other California lawmakers called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in April to issue the grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

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