CEO Report

Brian P. Kelly, CEODecember 2020

The video of the entire December 2020 Board of Directors meeting can be viewed here.
View Draft Business Plan update presentation here.

2020 Business Plan Update

In agreement between and coordination with the Administration and Legislative leadership, the deadline for the 2020 Business Plan was extended to December 15, 2020. In my presentation I have a graphic of a letter on this issue we received from Senate President Pro Temp Toni Atkins, and we expect a similar letter soon from the Speaker of the California Assembly’s office. After further discussions, the plan has been redesigned a bit. We will issue the new draft plan February 12, 2021, with time for additional public comment and appropriate legislative oversight hearings. This also allows us to coordinate and brief with the incoming federal administration. The final business plan will be submitted to the legislature on April 15, 2021. The updated draft will:

  • Define COVID-19 program impacts and where we stand.
  • Provide a full description of risk-assessed costs, schedule, scope and revenues for current work.
  • Plan for “closing the books” on the 119-mile Central Valley construction and track and systems installation and clearing environmental documents statewide, including close out costs and schedule estimates.
  • Strategize for moving beyond the Initial Construction Segment to early operable options and statewide advancement of the program.
  • Display strategies that demonstrate important lessons learned from early program experience to be applied to future work:
    • A greater focus on risk and risk management – establishment of a Risk Committee;
    • Methodical, incremental, disciplined program advancement;
    • Implementation of “Stage Gate” process on future procurements.

Envision Platinum Rating from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure:

View the presentation for this section here.

I also wanted to highlight that the Authority has received national recognition with the Envision Platinum rating for its sustainability efforts. The Envision Platinum rating is the highest-level award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI), a non-profit organization founded by the American Public Works Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Council of Engineering Companies. They look at big infrastructure projects all over the United States and see how they’re doing from a sustainability standpoint.

This award marks the first time a program the size and complexity of the state’s high-speed rail project has earned such an honor from ISI. We put out a news release announcing this award today and also pushed out notice of this award to our social media accounts. ISI did the same.

We received this award not just for what we’ll do once operational, but also what we’re doing in construction.

I’m proud that, once operational, we’ll reduce emissions that are dangerous to the public’s health.

I want to thank publicly our Director of Planning and Sustainability Meg Cederoth who spearheaded this effort. They made their own assessments, but she was our contact.

We see this as validation that we are achieving the objectives of the cap and trade program and the award of some of those funds to this Program.

Status of Agreements for Fairmead Mitigation:

The Board of Directors had asked for updates on our agreements in the Central Valley related to the Central Valley Wye. Mitigation issues around the City of Fairmead is an effort across several surrounding jurisdictions.

The agreement with the City of Chowchilla was signed as of this morning, which is good news. Our agreement with the County of Madera are ongoing, and we expect to be signing by early January.

We continue working with the Fairmead Community and Friends, and I believe we have an agreement in principle. But they are waiting, in part, for the conclusion of agreement with the County of Madera before they sign.

But I expect these will all be complete by early January, and I hope by our January meeting that I’ll be able to report all these agreements are signed.

Golden Empire Transit CEO Follow-Up:

Karen King, CEO of the Golden Empire Transit District spoke during October’s Board meeting and expressed desire that we work with Golden Empire Transit in Bakersfield on relocation issues.

Golden Empire Transit facility is within the high-speed rail right of way into the F Street station in Bakersfield, so we will need to acquire property ultimately.

Golden Empire Transit is under state mandate to acquire clean, zero emission buses that require them to make capital improvements to their facility to maintain and service new vehicles. They have 25 new buses coming in FY 2023/2024, so it is in both of our interests that their capital needs be undertaken at a location other than this location where their facility currently sits.

We are proposing to methodically expand our design work for the Bakersfield extension and map the right-of-way needs and identify utility relocation to be completed. There is an urgency and timing issue with Golden Empire Transit that is in both of our interests to solve and manage collaboratively.

I have directed our interim Central Valley Regional Director Garth Hernandez to work with Golden Empire Transit to fully understand needs and timeline as we work to expand into Bakersfield.

We will return to the Board of Directors to discuss updates and proposed actions to ensure the matter is being addressed rightfully, efficiently and cooperatively.

Top Moments of 2020 Video:

It’s a tradition at the Authority that in December we do a recap video of what has happened this year. This video summarizes some of the top moments of the amazing progress we made this year throughout the state, even as COVID-19 changed the way the whole world works and lives:

California High-Speed Rail: Top Moments of 2020

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