High-speed rail could see influx of funding under Gov. Newsom’s proposal
California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed $4.2 billion toward the construction of a high-speed rail, which would connect the area’s mega-regions from Los Angeles to San Francisco, during the state’s budget briefing on Friday.
The funds were a significant part of an $11 billion transportation proposal and are intended to help complete construction on the first portion of the rail system in California’s Central Valley, along with advancing the service between Merced and Bakersfield.
The long-discussed high-speed rail has 119 miles currently under construction, with more than 35 active construction sites, according to the California High Speed Rail Authority (CAHSRA).
Newsom, who touted the project as an effort to “build a modernized transportation system for the next century,” said during the budget briefing that he also expects federal funding to resume under President Joe Biden’s administration. The Trump administration and then-Republican-controlled congress had set out to end federal funding for the rail.
“Those dollars are coming back into the state, reinforcing we have a real federal partner,” Newsom said.
The $11 billion toward transportation represented more than a third of Newsom’s $18 billion total proposed budget and included $1 billion for projects critical to supporting the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, $1 billion toward statewide transit and rail projects, $500 million for increasing the safety and ease of walking and biking, $500 million for critical safety improvements, and $2 billion to support the State Highway Operation and Protection Program, Interregional Transportation Improvement Program, and local bridges and roads maintenance.
The rail, which will be capable of traveling more than 200 miles per hour while running on 100% renewable power, has also created more than 5,500 construction jobs, according to the CAHSRA.
“Most of these workers are from the Central Valley, which means they can work and live in the same area and spend their wages on businesses in the community further spurring job growth,” CAHSRA CFO Brian Annis told FOX Business. “Beyond the Valley, high-speed rail will tie the regions of the state together from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, providing new opportunities for the entire state.”
California’s state legislature now has until June 15 to send Gov. Newsom a budget bill before the fiscal year begins on July 1.