To meet federal and state requirements while building the backbone of a high-speed train system that will eventually run from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, engineers for the California High-Speed Rail Authority today submitted to the Board a recommendation that the project start construction on a critical portion of track in the heart of the Central Valley.
In making his recommendation, which the Authority’s Board of Directors will consider next week, Authority CEO Roelof van Ark noted that the first segment to enter construction would make the best use of the $4.3 billion in currently available construction funds and meet all state and federal legal requirements.
“The decision before the Authority is an important one, but we should all remember that this project is a marathon, not a single stride,” van Ark said. “It’s not about the first 100 yards, the first mile, or even the first 50 miles. It’s about the finish line – building the nation’s first true high-speed rail system, connecting California’s great cities the entire distance between them.”
The recommendation follows a decision last month by the Federal Railroad Administration, which directed that the federal funding awarded to the project – both the stimulus funding and the Fiscal Year 2010-11 dollars – must be dedicated to a single section of the project in the Central Valley.
Spanning about 65 miles, the recommended segment would start near Madera, include the construction of two new stations – one in downtown Fresno and the other east of Hanford – and continue south to Corcoran.