Despite mounting criticism of California’s high-speed rail project, Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno remains one of its biggest supporters.
On Tuesday afternoon, Costa announced that he had secured $3.1 billion from the Biden administration for bullet-train projects in Fresno, Bakersfield, and other Valley cities.
Funding comes from a grant program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
“For decades, I’ve worked to make California’s high-speed rail system a reality,” Costa said in a news release. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I helped pass, we now have significant investment to make major progress. … I want to thank President Biden, Governor Newsom, and our partners. We still have much more work to be done.”
An update from the California High-Speed Rail Authority shows that the plan to build the system’s 171-mile first segment has risen to $35 billion. That figure exceeds secured funding by $10 billion. The entire system, as envisioned, would cost $128 billion.
“California is delivering on the first 220-mph, electric high-speed rail project in the nation,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “This show of support from the Biden-Harris Administration is a vote of confidence in today’s vision and comes at a critical turning point, providing the project new momentum.”
Said High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian Kelly: “We look forward to advancing the project, putting more Californians to work and buying new, electrified high-speed trains, all made possible by this grant.”
In 2023, 10 structures were completed along the first 119 miles of construction and environmental progress has continued with 422 of the 500-mile project now environmentally cleared.
A Look at the Projects
The $3.1 billion in new federal funding will support activities that include:
- Final design and right-of-way acquisition for the Merced extension from Madera to Merced
- Bakersfield extension from Poplar Avenue in Shafter to Bakersfield
- Civil, track, and systems construction for the 13-mile Bakersfield Interim extension
- Design and construction of Fresno Station
- Design and procurement of trainsets, as well as design and construction of trainset facilities
Earlier this year, Costa announced more than $200 million in grants for the CHSRA.