NEWS RELEASE: High-Speed Rail Authority Receives Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Change

April 19, 2023

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority has been recognized by the American Planning Association’s California – Northern Section with the 2023 Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff, an urban planner who pioneered inclusionary zoning.

The recognition is for high-speed rail’s San Jose to Merced Project Section, Environmental Justice Community Improvement Planning and Engagement Process.

“This work reflects a multi-year process of building relationships with the communities that the system travels through, with an emphasis on environmental justice and partnership,” said Northern California regional director Boris Lipkin. “We’re honored that the American Planning Association recognizes those efforts as a best practice, and we look forward to continuing these relationships as we bring high-speed rail to Northern California.”

In planning for the line between San Jose and Merced that was environmentally cleared last spring, the Authority collaborated with environmental justice communities to identify improvements that will help offset project effects. Engagement for the project included over 200 different events, including 58 meetings focused on planning for community enhancements. The collaborative planning approach resulted in the identification of 25 community improvements across the eight affected communities.

The enhancements include park and street safety improvements, school/community recreational facilities, supporting school bus routing, pedestrian/bike connections and overpasses, school retrofits, insulation to address noise impacts, and reestablishing a library focused on civil rights at an African American community center.

The APA California – Northern Section Awards Program celebrates great planning work occurring throughout Northern California. The purpose of the program is to encourage quality in planning and increase the public’s awareness of the planning profession by recognizing outstanding achievements in the field.

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. To date, more than 10,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of the project.  There are more than 30 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the Authority having environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

For more on construction, visit:

For recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings, go to

These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Media Contact

Jim Patrick
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