Northern California Update October 2017

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) continues its commitment to conduct public outreach. Here are a few updates this month.
Statewide Update
Early Train Operator Procurement

The California High-Seed Rail Authority (Authority) received proposals from four world class teams invited to participate in this second phase of the Early Train Operator procurement.
Proposals were received from the following teams (listed in alphabetical order):
  • China HSR ETO Consortium
  • DB Engineering & Consulting USA
  • FS First Rail Group
  • Renfe
The 2016 Business Plan called for the early engagement of an Early Train Operator to assist in the planning and construction process in order to help the Authority shape future procurements and provide important guidance as the Authority continues progress on the nation’s first high-speed rail program.  Specifically, the Early Train Operator will advise the Authority on design, development and procurement of rolling stock, track and systems and stations.
The next step in the process is the evaluation of the proposals. The Authority is scheduled to post the notice of proposed award on October 6, with the Board of Directors expected to take action on October 18. It is anticipated that the contract will be executed by the end of the year, though the schedule is always subject to change.

High-Speed Rail:  Investing in California’s Economy

As construction has commenced and the high-speed rail program has transitioned from a planning to a project delivery organization, the program’s contributions to the California economy have grown substantially.  Starting with just a few employees a decade ago, the high-speed rail program now supports thousands of jobs across all functions - from planning and environmental clearance to engineering and construction. This investment has spurred additional economic benefits around California and across the country. To understand and measure these benefits, the Authority conducted an analysis examining the economic effects of investments from July 2006 to June 2016 that includes:
  • Jobs
  • Labor Income
  • Economic Activity
These effects are measured across a number of California geographies, including disadvantaged communities, as well as the rest of the country. Click the report cover to read 'High-Speed Rail: Investing in California’s Economy.'

You can also find additional information on the newly launched Economic Impacts Webpage here.
High-Speed Rail: Investing in California’s Economy
2018 Business Plan Development

At the Authority’s September Board of Directors meeting, staff updated the Board on the progress that is being made in the development of the 2018 Business Plan. The Authority is required to prepare, publish, adopt and submit an updated Business Plan to the State Legislature by May 1, 2018. By statue, the Authority must publish a draft 2018 Business Plan in February 2018 to allow for a 60-day public comment period.
The 2018 Business Plan will summarize the progress made since publishing the 2016 Business Plan, including construction underway in the Central Valley, progress on Bookend and Connectivity projects in Southern and Northern California and other activities associated with the implementation of the high-speed rail program.

The 2018 Business Plan will also present updated forecasts and estimates for ridership, revenue, capital and operating costs. Additionally, the 2018 Business Plan will provide updates and refinements to the Authority’s business model for delivering and operating the system.

Construction Update:  Improving Safety

September is US Rail Safety month and the High-Speed Rail Program is using it as an opportunity to take a closer look at how we are helping to increase rail safety statewide. According to Operation Lifesaver, the number of highway-rail crossing collisions, deaths and injuries has dropped over the past five decades, but that about every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train. This month’s construction update highlights two safety improvements features of the high-speed rail system:  Positive Train Control and Grade Separations.  Read the construction update here.

What's New in the San Francisco to San Jose Project Section
On September 26, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project in San Mateo.  The High-Speed Rail Program, in partnership with the City of San Mateo and the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, is making a life-saving investment, by contributing funding to this important safety improvement project.  This grade separation will significantly reduce accidents and congestion at a dangerous intersection, long before high-speed rail service on the blended corridor reaches the Bay Area. Be sure to look for a video release with more information on this project later this week.
Groundbreaking Ceremony

Local Policy Maker Group

On September 28, 2017, Caltrain hosted the Local Policy Maker Group (LPMG) meeting. In this meeting, Caltrain discussed outreach and construction updates from the Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project. The presentation materials can be found here.
The Authority continues to work closely with Caltrain staff and hosts an LPMG meeting every other month, which is open to the public. The next Authority-hosted LMPG meeting is held on October 26, 2017.
In the coming months, the Authority continues to coordinate and collaborate with Caltrain staff. Additionally, the Authority continues stakeholder coordination and outreach along the San Francisco to San Jose Project Section corridor with additional public meetings in station cities, and Environmental Justice outreach.
Upcoming Outreach Meetings along the corridor:
  • A presentation will be made on October 23 to the City of Redwood City;
  • The next Authority-hosted LPMG meeting will be held on October 26;
  • A presentation will be made on October 24 to the City of San Carlos; and
  • A presentation will be made on November 28 to the City of Sunnyvale.
What’s New in the San Jose to Merced Project Section
Geotechnical Progress
The Authority, in cooperation with geotechnical consultant, Kleinfelder, Inc., announced lane closures on Route 152 Pacheco Pass Highway for field work associated with geotechnical explorations within in the Silicon Valley to Central Valley line. The closures began on September 20. This work will help to better determine soil conditions along the alignment and supports future engineering, environmental and procurements. Kleinfelder Inc. will be performing drilling activities using a mud-rotary rig. A final alignment alternative through this area has not yet been selected and sill be done so through an upcoming public environmental process.  To learn more about this important work, just watch this video.
Mud-rotary Rig

San Jose Community Working Group

High-speed rail program staff and the City of San Jose hosted its latest San Jose Community Working Group (CWG) on Wednesday, September 27. The meeting covered topics related to noise and vibration and mitigation requirements for such impacts. Additionally the CWG members spoke with staff about the remaining topics of interest and what would be covered at the remaining three meetings.  Materials from the meeting can be found under Community Meetings here.

Here are several ways to stay involved by providing comments or asking questions:

Via Email: 

Via Phone:     
San Francisco to San Jose Project Section: (800) 435-8670

San Jose to Merced Project Section: (800) 455-8166

Ben Tripousis
Northern California Regional Director