California High-Speed Rail Authority in the US has broken ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail system, as part of efforts to modernise the state’s transportation infrastructure.
High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors chairman Dan Richard said: "We now enter a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system for the next five years in the Central Valley and for a decade after that across California.
"This is an investment that will forever improve the way Californians commute, travel and live. And today is also a celebration of the renewed spirit that built California."
It is being estimated that California will be spending approximately $4m a day for the next 1,000 days on the project that is expected to be completed in 2033, reported Fox News.
According to the initial plan, the rail would make it possible to deliver passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2h and 40min.
However, since then, the estimated train time has gone up significantly and the project has faced persistent problems. While the project’s initial estimated cost was $33bn, it has now gone up to $98bn.
Voters approved the rail project in 2008 following which the Obama administration added grants of $3.2bn. Last year, the legislature agreed to provide 25% of future greenhouse gas or cap-and-trade fees, which could produce $250m to $1bn a year for the bullet train.
The authority has already started the pre-construction activities on a 29-mile stretch between Avenue 17, Madera County to East American Avenue, Fresno County under the first construction package.
This section includes 12 grade separations, two viaducts, one tunnel and a major river crossing over the San Joaquin River.
The contract for the designing and building of the line was awarded to the Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons (TPZP) joint venture.