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Northern California Voices Support for High-Speed Rail as Authority Board of Directors Adopts 2020 Business Plan

Northern California Voices Support for High-Speed Rail as Authority Board of Directors Adopts 2020 Business Plan

The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors adopted the Revised 2020 Business Plan

California High-Speed Rail Authority


March 25, 2021
Michele Boudreau
(408) 219-3114 (c)
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors adopted the Revised 2020 Business Plan today, reaffirming the region’s support for the Authority’s plan to deliver a 171-mile Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield electrified high-speed rail interim service line in California’s Central Valley by the end of the decade.  

“We appreciate the strong support from our Bay Area community,” said California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Northern Californians have made their voices clear that there’s a strong focus and priority on mobility options that help us achieve a more sustainable future.”

The Authority will submit the final plan for approval to the Legislature on or before April 15. It includes the following priorities:
  • Complete the 119-mile Central Valley construction segment and lay track pursuant to federal funding grant agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration
  • Expand the 119-mile Central Valley segment to 171 miles of operable electrified high-speed rail connecting Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield, three of the fastest growing areas in California;
  • Commence testing of electrified high-speed trains by 2026-2027 and put those trains in service by the end of the decade;
  • Environmentally clear all segments of the Phase 1 system between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim
  • Advance construction on the “bookend” projects the Authority has committed funding to in Los Angeles and the Bay Area—projects valued at more than $3 billion
  • Pursue additional funding opportunities to prospectively “close the gaps” and expand electrified high-speed rail service to the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim as soon as possible.
Earlier this month, Authority CEO Brian Kelly presented the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan to the California Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees. CEO Kelly responded to questions from legislators at both committee meetings, which were opened for public comment.

During the combined public comment periods nearly 100 callers voiced positive support for clean, electrified high-speed rail and the path laid forward in the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan. Northern California constituents provided an overwhelming show of support that builds on recent actions Bay Area agencies have taken, such as the Metropolitan Transit Commission, which has included high-speed rail as a regional priority in their long-range plan for the region.

Other prominent Northern Californians have also come out in support of the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan. In a March 8 San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece, California State Senator Scott Wiener wrote that his Bay Area constituents “get that high-speed rail ushers in a more environmentally and economically just future, not only for us, but for our inland sister counties that suffer from severe poverty and rates of childhood asthma and other health issues due to carbon emissions."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo joined Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer in an recent opinion piece supporting the plan, emphasizing the importance of delivering on high-speed rail in the Central Valley and moving forward with a Central Valley to Bay Area extension. They noted the further significance of a future Central Valley to Silicon Valley connection “bringing abundant Central Valley housing within a 53-minute ride of Silicon Valley jobs”

Ron Diridon, Sr., namesake of San Jose’s Diridon Station, wrote in a recent letter to the Mercury News “California is leading the nation in building a first-class system that will support the economy while 

A synopsis of comments received in support of current high-speed rail direction is below.

The  high-Speed Rail project averages 1,100 construction workers a day at 35 construction sites in the Central Valley. Nearly 77% of these workers come from eight counties in the Central Valley, with workers from 43 different California counties participating overall. For more on the project visit


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