Tuesday, November 22, 2011

California HSR construction receives $928 million grant

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The Federal Railroad Administration awarded a $928.6 million grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for initial construction of California high-speed rail. Construction will begin next year in Fresno, Calif., creating tens of thousands of jobs in California.

"California's population will grow by 60 percent over the next 40 years," said U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Investing in a green, job-creating high-speed rail network is less expensive and more practical than paying for all of the expansions to already congested highways and airports that would be necessary to accommodate the state's projected population boom."

The grant, when combined with voter-approved state support and previously-awarded federal dollars, will fund the construction of the first usable segment of the California system in the Central Valley. In the recently released business plan, the authority embraced a phased implementation similar to those used for international systems. The first construction project will put more than 100,000 people to work during the next five years.Over the course of the network's construction, more than one million jobs are expected to be created, and the economic activity spurred by the new system is expected to add up to 450,000 new non-high-speed rail jobs to the California economy by 2040.

California's 220-mph high-speed rail system will connect to the rest of the state's transportation network, improving local, regional and international mobility. Travelers moving throughout the state will connect to local transit and commuter service to reach their final destinations, reducing the need to add more highway trips through a state that is home to six of the ten most congested metropolitan areas in the nation.

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