California High-Speed Rail Authority releases draft 2022 business plan

New plan reportedly adds $5 billion to the cost of the long-delayed high-speed rail project

February 09, 2022 / 2 minute read
California High-Speed Rail Authority releases draft 2022 business plan
Image: California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) this week issued its draft 2022 business plan for public feedback.

The Authority's goal is to develop a clean, electrified Merced to Bakersfield high-speed rail interim service line as soon as possible in California’s Central Valley with the funding currently available.

According to a report from The Associated Press (AP), this new plan adds $5 billion to the cost of the long-delayed high-speed rail project. The total cost was expected to be $40 billion back in 2008 when voters first approved a $10 billion bond for the project, according to AP. However, the latest draft plan shows the project could cost up to $105 billion to finish.

The 2022 plan discusses program progress in Northern California, the Central Valley, and Southern California, the Authority says. It also addresses areas of opportunity with new federal funding and pending legislative approval of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Transportation Infrastructure Package, which includes bond funding for high-speed rail.

Back in May 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration announced it was officially terminating its agreement with the CHSRA for the high-speed rail project, canceling nearly $1 billion in funding. Around that time, Gov. Gavin Newsom had announced plans to scale back the high-speed rail project, citing high costs and project delays. According to AP, the Biden administration has returned the funding revoked in 2019.

The CHSRA says by mid-2022, it expects to have environmentally cleared 422 miles, with action expected on the final two Northern California sections between San Francisco and Merced. The Authority’s last two project sections, Palmdale to Burbank and Los Angeles to Anaheim, will advance in 2023.

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Source: California High-Speed Rail Authority | The Associated Press

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