NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Sparks Billions in Economic Benefit​

January 18, 2024

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – New data released today by the California High-Speed Rail Authority shows investments in this first-in-the-nation project are continuing to provide billions in economic benefit to the state. The Authority’s 2023 Economic Impact Analysis Report shows the California high-speed rail project continues to be a proven job creator that bolsters the local economy, particularly disadvantaged communities.

“High-speed rail is leading the way toward the Golden State’s sustainable transportation future,” said Authority CFO Brian Annis. “With our continued partnership with the federal government and our local partners, investment in high-speed rail creates good-paying union jobs and generates income to some of California’s most vulnerable people and their communities.”

Ninety-nine percent of the project’s 2022-23 fiscal year expenditures has gone to California businesses and workers, with two of every three of those dollars going to disadvantaged communities, driving economic activity in these areas.

To close out 2023, the Authority marked a historic milestone, announcing the creation of more than 12,000 construction jobs since the start of project construction. Most of these jobs have gone to Central Valley residents. These numbers together are the result of the project’s total investment of more than $11.2 billion since 2006 in its planning and construction.

Graphic representing the topline numbers form the economic impact analysis. Reads

The Authority estimates the project has created a total of 92,000 job-years of employment, spurring $7 billion in total direct labor income earned by workers on the project and $18 billion in total economic activity. In 2023, the Authority posted a record high number of job-years contributing to the total, nearly 2,000 more than any other year since the project began.

A job-year is defined as the equivalent of a full-time job for one year. For example, if one full-time job is supported for two years, it represents two job-years. Said another way if a single person worked 92,000 job-years, they would work for 92 millennia.

The Authority estimates completing the initial 171-mile Merced to Bakersfield passenger service would, in addition to cutting existing trip times in half, add to these numbers, resulting in a total of 333,000 job-years of employment and total economic activity of $70.3 billion.

Estimates show the complete build-out of the 494-mile Phase 1 System between San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim, via the underway Central Valley section, would cumulatively create a total of 945,000 job-years of employment, and total economic activity of $203.6 billion.

As of December 2023, more than 810 certified small businesses in California are also helping build high-speed rail; $1.47 billion has been earned by certified Small Businesses, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises for their work.

This pace is maintained thanks to the nearly $3.1 billion in Federal-State Partnership grant funds awarded to the Authority by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It is the largest award of federal funds the project has ever received. The funds are critical to advancing Merced-Bakersfield inaugural passenger service by the end of the decade.

The Authority’s economic impact analysis is updated annually and reflects data as of June 2023. An updated webpage featuring the latest 2023 economic impact analysis can be found here. A related factsheet can be found here and information on project construction progress can be found at

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles currently under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield.

There are more than 25 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the Authority having also fully environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.

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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