On Wednesday evening, the California Legislature passed a state budget that includes $4.2 billion in funding for high-speed rail. California can now accelerate construction on the most impactful infrastructure project underway in America.

The agreement addresses concerns for other transit projects as well, by including a substantial increase in funding for passenger rail and transit throughout the state. The budget increases state funding for rail plans to $3.65 billion this year, and another $4 billion is planned for transit projects through 2025. The agreement also calls for the appointment of an inspector general to keep the high-speed rail project on track.

This is a win-win for rail advocates and California resident. Who can expect progress on high-speed rail, intercity trains, and transit projects throughout the state.

All of these projects work together as part of an integrated network to increase ridership and revenue, and to bring economic benefits to communities throughout the state. This investment in electrified trains, that provide fast alternatives to driving and flying, will also go a long way towards helping California reach its climate goals.

The $4.2 billion in funding will allow the California High-Speed Rail Authority to continue construction on the Bakersfield to Merced segment in the Central Valley, and to begin operating high-speed trains by 2030. The spine of the network in the Central Valley is key to creating the foundation for the system and the statewide political will for completing the project and running trains between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has made a lot of progress towards this goal and are close to gaining environmental clearance for the entire 500-mile high-speed line from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

This is great timing for the project to receive a commitment from the California Legislature. It puts the project in a much better position to apply for and secure grant funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act passed last year.

We owe this win for American high-speed rail to the work of elected officials and civic leaders in California, along with the work of advocates in the state and throughout the rest of the country. Thank you to all the Alliance supporters and our allies who have answered the call and played a role in making this happen.

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