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California high speed rail makes progress

California has managed to secure extra funding for its planned high speed rail route and has begun drafting environmental impact assessments for the route.

Earlier this month, California High-Speed Rail Authority signed an agreement with the federal government to secure $86.4M (£52.3M) awarded from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The funds secured in the agreement were a portion of the May 2011 award, which was the re-allocation of funding from Florida.

This brings to total funding the scheme has receieved to £3.8bn, from both state and federal coffers.

The draft environmental impact study has examined the Merced to Fresno and Fresno to Bakersfield sections of the project.

However, environmental review and preliminary engineering work along the San Francisco to San Jose segment of the project was slowed earlier this year awaiting planning and design consensus among the corridor’s stakeholders.

As a result of this collaboration the draft environmental impact report and conclusion of preliminary engineering work on this segment are currently anticipated for release in early 2013. 

On Wednesday, Caltrain also released preliminary findings of a corridor capacity study which examined the corridor’s ability to support initial high-speed rail operations and existing Caltrain service by outlining improvements needed to existing infrastructure and technology. 

The California High Speed Rail Authority is hoping to work with planning partners and stakeholders, including Caltrain and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), to evaluate the results of this study in the coming months.

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