The California State Senate narrowly approved the release of voter-approved bond funds to begin work on the state's anticipated high-speed rail system, passing a bill this past Friday that authorizes $2.7 billion for the high-speed project and nearly $2 billion for local rail improvements in Los Angeles and the Bay Area - and, crucially, unlocking a $3.3 billion Federal Railroad Administration matching grant for the projects. The State Legislature's actions signal the beginning of what could become sweeping transformations for mobility and direly-needed economic stimulus in the economically beleaguered Western state.
President of the Democratically-led State Senate Darrell Steinberg lauded the initial investment in the $68 billion project as an opportunity to "inject a colossal stimulus in today's economy," adding that the appropriation is more than just an investment in the high-speed system but a major benefit for infrastructure in multiple areas of the state. The monies approved include funds intended to jump-start long-sought upgrades to the Caltrain and Metrolink commuter rail networks in the Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles regions, projects for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the L.A. County Metropolitan Transit Authority, and other important mobility projects in the state. Read more about the economic benefits offered by these improvements here.
Regional Plan Association commends the state of California on taking this critical step toward realizing the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail network.