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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis August 12, 2011
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California to Receive $179 Million in Federal Rail Funds

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has announced $179 million for the state of California to continue building a statewide passenger rail network incorporating both high-speed and intercity service.

“California voters and train passengers have said it loud and clear: they want access to a world-class rail system in California.” said LaHood. “These projects ensure passenger rail is built to support a thriving California economy in the 21st century while creating thousands of new construction and manufacturing jobs today.”

The federal funding will support these three projects:

Central Valley High-Speed Rail, $86.4 million to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. This funding will allow extension of the current 110-mile segment for an additional 20 miles to Merced and Bakersfield, advancing completion of the backbone of the Los Angeles-San Francisco corridor.

Regional Equipment Pool, $68 million for new intercity trains. This money is part of a multi-state procurement that includes California, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Washington State, maximizing the purchase of next-generation American-made trains. Along with $100 million from a previously awarded grant to California, it will allow for the purchase of six new locomotives and 40 new passenger cars.

Pacific Surfliner Signaling/Safety, $24.9 million to Caltrans. These funds for the line between San Diego and San Luis Obispo will cover installation of Positive Train Control between San Onofre and San Diego. This signaling system is expected to increase railroad safety and efficiency by monitoring and controlling train movements.

Through federal investments and voter-approved state investments, California is laying the groundwork for the nation’s first 220 mph high-speed rail system. The rail dollars will also be used to improve existing intercity service throughout the state.

“With 20 million more people expected to be in California within the next 40 years, we can’t build enough highways and airport runways to accommodate the demand,” said Joseph C. Szabo, administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. “Passenger rail will play a much greater role in how Californians move throughout the state to ensure California’s economy keeps moving forward.”

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