NEWS RELEASE: What Supporters Said About High-Speed Rail Authority Receiving Nearly $202 Million from Federal Government

September 25, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Today’s news of the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) receiving nearly $202 million in federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Transportation was applauded by elected officials and industry leaders nationwide. Here are some of the reactions to today’s news.

“These awards of nearly $202 million are a much-needed boost to California’s first in-the-nation electrified high-speed rail project. Investments like these will help increase rail safety and reduce the impact on our climate. This is a critical investment in our state’s efforts to lead the way in creating better and cleaner infrastructure for all Californians.” – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to fund California’s transformational high-speed rail project,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “This federal investment is a significant step forward in building the world-class high-speed rail Californians deserve, but it will require federal, state, and local partners continuing to work together to connect our communities and uplift our economy.”

“California is investing in the future of transportation and with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we are advancing the nation’s first high-speed rail project,” said Rep. Jim Costa (CA-21). “This federal grant reflects a commitment from the Biden-Harris Administration to bringing modern transportation into the 21st century starting here in California’s San Joaquin Valley. I’m proud to have worked with our federal and state partners to secure this grant to advance this project.”

“This grant is the latest evidence that my Administration and the Biden-Harris Administration are in lock-step when it comes to building innovative, clean transportation projects for the future,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “These dollars signal our shared strong commitment to advance clean, electrified high-speed rail into the heart of some of the largest and fastest growing cities in California by the end of this decade. I welcome the federal government’s continued support for this major infrastructure project for Californians.” 

“Under President Biden’s leadership, we are making historic investments in rail, which means fewer accidents and delays, faster travel times, and lower shipping costs for the American people,” said US Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These projects will make American rail safer, more reliable, and more resilient, delivering tangible benefits to dozens of communities where railroads are located, and strengthening supply chains for the entire country.”

“I appreciate the Biden-Harris administration’s federal commitment to advance the nation’s first 220 mph electrified high-speed rail operating segment between Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield. The grade separations will eliminate street-level crossings at intersections along a busy freight rail corridor, prepare communities for future 220 mph high-speed train service, and improve safety, air quality, and mobility. California welcomes the investment in clean transportation projects.” – State Sen. Anna M. Caballero (D-Merced)

“Today’s announcement marks another major milestone for California’s high-speed rail project that’s taking shape first through Fresno and the Central Valley. I appreciate the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold investment, in partnership with Governor Newsom’s Administration, because it means so much for our region: more jobs and economic development, cleaner transportation, and a commitment to a cleaner future for our children.” – State Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno)

“Big infrastructure projects need big partnerships, and I thank the Biden-Harris Administration for this strong show of support for the biggest, greenest infrastructure project in the country,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary, Toks Omishakin. “Not only will this investment help move California’s high-speed rail project closer toward starting passenger service in the Central Valley, but it will also improve safety, mobility and air quality in the surrounding community. This is an all-around win for the people of California.”

“This grant shows that California High-Speed Rail is picking up steam,” said former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is Co-Chair of the U.S. High-Speed Rail Coalition. “It’s time to put the full weight of the federal government behind this historic project.”

“We are thankful for this critical federal investment from the Biden-Harris Administration which will accelerate the transformation of mobility. The opportunities unlocked with high-speed rail will improve the quality of life for generations of Californians, including the many thousands of skilled and trained journey-level members and apprentices working on this monumental project.”  – Chris Hannan, President, California Building and Construction Trades Council

“Building six new grade separations will create hundreds of new, good-paying, construction jobs for residents in the Central Valley,” said Chuck Riojas of the Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings Building Trades Council. “This federal funding is essential in continuing the momentum that high-speed rail has been able to make over the last few years and will continue to put hardworking Central Valley residents to work.”

“We appreciate the Biden Administration for making this important investment into the Central Valley. The economic impact of these infrastructure projects on local communities cannot be overstated, as they will generate immediate and long-term job opportunities in realizing an advanced high-speed rail system.” – Will Oliver, President/CEO, Fresno County Economic Development Corporation

“Receiving this Federal grant moves us one step closer to completing a project that is vital to the California transportation network.  We appreciate the ongoing Federal support from the Biden-Harris administration on this history-making project.” – High-Speed Rail Authority Board Member Henry Perea

“Electrified High-Speed Rail in California is creating jobs and changing the future of mobility around the state. Congrats to the Authority on this major sign of support from the federal government – we hope to celebrate more funding milestones this year.” – Keith Dunn, Association for California High-Speed Trains

“Once this project is finished, some 31 million passengers are likely to ride these trains every year. That’s two and a half times the number riding Amtrak’s famous ‘Acela corridor’ between Boston and Washington in the northeast. Building the capacity to move that many people between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than three hours for half the cost of other options – options which won’t even offer the same safety, environmental, or equitable access advantages – is a solid return on taxpayers’ equity. The Biden Administration’s move to support the first construction projects beyond the 119-mile Central Valley segment already underway is a strong signal that it is serious about using rail to improve marginalized communities, address road congestion and highway fatalities, and chart a greener future for California and the rest of the country.” – Jim Mathews, President & CEO, Rail Passengers Association

“This investment provides a double safety benefit.  It separates six streets and highways from both the future high-speed rail operations as well as the high-volume BNSF freight line. This award provides an opportunity for early investment in the Locally Generated Alternative, the extension from current construction into downtown Bakersfield, with projects that have independent utility and immediate safety and traffic flow benefits when completed”. – Steve Roberts, President, Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada

“With the southernmost 22-mile stretch of active construction due to be complete this fall, this latest federal commitment represents a major step forward in our effort to deliver passenger service in California,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “We look forward to this continued partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration.”

The Authority has begun advanced design work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. The high-speed rail project has created more than 11,000 good-paying jobs since the start of construction, 70% of those going to Central Valley residents, and there are more than 25 active construction sites. The Authority has also environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

For more information on construction, visit:

The following link contains recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings:

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


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