The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) in the US has applied for $67m in new federal funds to ramp up key safety upgrades along the rail line in the Central Valley.
The Authority is seeking the grant to enhance six current railroad grade crossings in Shafter, California.
Part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s FY22 Railroad Crossing Elimination Programme, the $67m grant will help phase out six at-grade crossings of the BNSF freight railroad within the City of Shafter.
It will help advance the Bakersfield Extension by building two grade separations at Poplar Avenue and Riverside Avenue.
The financing will also help complete the design and purchase of right-of-way for four additional grade separations at Fresno Avenue, Shafter Avenue, Central Avenue, and East Lerdo Highway.
Furthermore, it will enable continued funding of the Central Valley Training Centre in Selma, California.
If secured, the capital will enable to carry out work on the first major structures in the Central Valley outside the current 119 miles under construction.
The Authority CEO Brian Kelly said: “The nation’s first high-speed rail system will improve the communities it serves.
“These federal funds will enhance safety in Shafter and prepare the community for high-speed rail construction – supporting living wage jobs, providing small business opportunities, enhancing economic development, and improving mobility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Authority also has a pending federal grant application for around $1bn to acquire new electric trains that can operate at speeds of over 200mph, besides advancing design on Bakersfield and Merced Extensions.
Additionally, it will be used for the completion of a full double-track system on the initial 119-mile segment and for building stations.
The federal funding will allow to speed up the construction of electrified high-speed rail between Merced and Bakersfield by this decade’s end.