California – The California High-Speed Rail Authority staff has made its route recommendations for a 130-mile high-speed rail that would run from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The bullet train, estimated to cost as much as $98.1 billion, would operate on a partial system as early as 2029. The full system would begin in 2033.
Engineers are faced with the challenge of building across the San Gabriel and Tehachapi mountains. The project is divided into phases, the first of which involves the San Francisco to San Jose section. This will accommodate travel between the Transbay Transit Center, 4th and King, Millbrae, and Diridon stations. Also part of the first phase is the San Jose to Merced section, an 84-mile project between stations in San Jose, Gilroy, Merced, and Fresno.
A major focus of the entire project is to electrify the rail. Caltrain and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are working on this process of blending the system, which would allow both operators to share the tracks.
In September, staff will present its recommendations, along with the feedback received during outreach, and will seek direction from the Board of Directors for which alternatives to identify as the state’s preferred routes. Subsequently, the draft environmental documents are due out in December 2019 for the San Jose to Merced project section and in March 2020 for the San Francisco to San Jose project section.