Rep. Costa Announces $715 Million For Valley High-Speed Rail

Oct 25, 2010
Press Release

Valley will kick off construction of nation’s first high-speed rail system

Fresno, CA – After pressing the White House for funding and advocating on behalf of the Valley, Congressman Jim Costa, joined by Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, today announced $715 million in federal funds for Valley high-speed rail. The funding, made available through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, will go towards beginning construction on the state’s high-speed rail system between Merced and Bakersfield. In what will be a major boost to the Central Valley’s economy, the high-speed rail system is expected to generate more than 135,000 full-time one-year job equivalents over the course of its construction.

Rep. Costa highlighted the impact high-speed rail will have on the Valley’s economy and the years of work put in to get to this point. Costa was the original author of the high-speed rail bond that passed in California in November, 2008. The bond measure allocated $9.95 billion towards the state’s high-speed rail project.

“High-speed rail means more jobs and economic opportunity for the Valley,” said Costa. “That’s why I authored the original bond measure and fought for these funds. Our years of hard work have paid off and the Valley will kick-off construction of our nation’s first high-speed rail system. I applaud the commitment of Secretary Ray LaHood and the Administration to make this project a reality.”

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin called the announcement an “incredible development” and emphasized the growing momentum for the project.

"This is an incredible development, both for California's high-speed train initiative and for Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley,”“I commend Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Administrator Joe Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration for their commitment to high-speed rail.  We look forward to working with the California High Speed Rail Authority to move this project forward.” Mayor Swearengin said.

In FY2010, Congress appropriated $2.5 billion for high-speed rail and intercity passenger rail.  Through the work of Rep. Costa, Rep. Cardoza, and Mayor Swearengin, FRA announced $715 million of these funds to begin construction of the state’s high-speed rail system in the Central Valley. Matching funds will be provided through the state bond which Costa originally authored. FRA will work with the state to determine whether to first begin construction on the Merced to Fresno segment or the Fresno to Bakersfield segment.

Earlier this year, California’s high-speed train project was the nation’s largest recipient of federal stimulus funding, $2.25 billion from the $8 billion available within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.