Calif. high-speed rail project preserved, restored over 2,300 acres of habitat over last year

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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It’s been a clean year for construction on California’s high-speed rail project.
California High Speed Rail Authority

As California kicks off Climate Week 2021, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released its latest Sustainability Report: Building an Equitable Future, detailing how this first-in-the nation project positively contributes to the climate change struggle and helps build the most technologically advanced, electrified, and equitable transportation system in California.

Electrified high-speed rail, serving as the backbone of the state rail system, will meet the state’s mobility and development goals by providing a system that connects communities, enhances economic opportunity, reduces emissions, and creates the most sustainable travel option for future generations.

“We’re committed to delivering the nation’s first truly high-speed rail system in a way that meets California’s climate goals and lifts up underserved communities,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “The work being done today will improve the air we breathe and enhance the economic situations of historically disadvantaged regions of the state. This is a system that’s meant to serve all Californians, so it’s important that we consider all communities and invest in a workforce that reflects the diversity of the state.”

“Social equity is a core component of sustainability at the Authority,” said Margaret Cederoth, director of Sustainability and Planning for the Authority. “Beyond the environmental benefits, this project will have long-lasting socioeconomic impacts to communities across California. It’s essential that we develop high-speed rail to consciously promote inclusive, equitable growth.”

In the past year, the Authority received national recognition with the Envision Platinum rating for the program. The Envision Platinum rating is the highest-level award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, and the award was the first time a program the size and complexity of the state’s high-speed rail project has earned such an honor.

Other key milestones from this year include:

  • Preserving or restoring more than 2,320 acres of habitat;
  • Planting 7,100 trees;
  • Avoiding 180,000 lb of criteria air pollutants during construction;
  • Increasing small business participation to over 600 entities; and 
  • Generating between $10 and 11.4 billion in total economic activity in the state.

The annual report details the Authority’s efforts from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020. A copy of the full report can be found at hsr.ca.gov/sustainability. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is currently under construction along 119-miles in California’s Central Valley at more than two-dozen jobsites. The project averages nearly 1,100 workers daily. For more on construction visit: www.buildhsr.com.

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