The US Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a record of decision (RoD) for the 114-mile Fresno to Bakersfield section of the California high-speed rail system.

The move paves the way to break ground on the high-speed electric-powered train project, under the National Environmental Policy Act process.

"This project is an important example of our commitment to investing in modernising our rail infrastructure to meet growing market demand."

The California high-speed rail system links the state’s major metropolitan areas and connects to commercial airports, mass transit systems and the highway network.

US DoT Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "It will create jobs, provide travellers with new options and improve connectivity up and down the West Coast. This project is an important example of our commitment to investing in modernising our rail infrastructure to meet growing market demand."

FRA administrator Joseph Szabo said: "This RoD represents a major milestone in the planning process, which included a rigorous analysis that thoroughly incorporated public input to recommend these routes."

The DoT has received funding for the California high-speed rail system through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.