Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) received five qualified bids for the next 60-mile phase of high-speed rail construction from Fresno to the Tulare-Kern County line near Bakersfield, which will be worth $1.5 to $2 billion.

Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project is facing another delay after the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) stated that "the contractor has not yet met the contract requirements for substantial completion."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has launched a series of initiatives to improve safety throughout its operations by strengthening reporting responsibilities, emphasizing management oversight and installing automatic speed controls.

Starting in March, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will begin the first project for the Your New Blue improvement program for the Blue Line O'Hare branch, a $492-million program to provide faster, smoother commutes and improved stations.

The Your New Blue includes a number of track and station improvement projects along the 12.5-mile stretch of the O'Hare Branch between the Grand and O'Hare stations and is the largest, most comprehensive investment in the Blue Line since the O'Hare branch was extended to the airport from Jefferson Park in 1983-1984.

"Your New Blue Program represents a huge investment in CTA riders and visitors traveling to Chicago via O'Hare and the many vibrant communities along the North and Northwest Sides," said CTA President Forrest Claypool. "These long-overdue improvements are part of Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel's efforts to modernize our transit system for the 21st century."

The first phase of Your New Blue involves replacing crossties, tie plates and other track materials on the Milwaukee elevated track structure between the Damen and Logan Square stops.

Later in 2014, the CTA will begin rehabilitation projects at the Western, Damen and California rail stations. In all, the four-year Your New Blue program will upgrade 13 stations, including adding a new elevator at Addison; improve tracks and signals; install new water-management systems and repairs to ensure dry and clean subway stations and upgrade traction power to improve service and reliability.

Funding for Your New Blue is being provided by a variety of local, state and federal sources, including $86 million from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's Jump Start program.

New Jersey Transit's Board of Directors appointed Veronique Hakim as the new executive director, effective March 1, 2014.

California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and the design-build contractor, Tutor-Perini/Zachary/Parsons, awarded a contract to Blair Church & Flynn Consulting Engineers (BC&F) for utility relocation design work in the Central Valley.

Construction has begun on the $248.3-million, 24-mile-long Perris Valley Metrolink Extension in Southern California, which will extend the current Metrolink 91 Line to new stations in North Riverside, Moreno Valley/March Field, Downtown Perris and South Perris/Menifee.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Credit Council has given preliminary approval on a nearly $1.9-billion federal loan for the Dulles Metrorail Silver Line Phase 2 project in Virginia.

Metrolink has begun a Positive Train Control (PTC) revenue service demonstration (RSD) under the authority of BNSF in California. Metrolink operated PTC RSD on Orange County Line train 686 February 20, however, the first revenue service train to offer the technology was 91 Line train 700 February 17.

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