The California High Speed Rail Authority (“Authority”) announced yesterday that it has received $300 million in additional funding from the federal government. The money has been reallocated from the $2 billion that was set aside for the Florida high speed rail project, which was rejected by their governor earlier this year. In addition to the federal funds, the Authority committed a 20 percent state match to the federal funds from Proposition 1A bond funds. Collectively, these funds have increased the Authority’s budget to $6.33 billion, $3.5 billion of which are from the federal government.
Although the Authority had hoped to secure enough funds to extend the first phase of construction from Merced to Bakersfield, the new funding will be used to extend the segment north of Fresno to Chowchilla with hopes of extending to Merced if more funding is secured. This initial phase is currently undergoing an environmental review process and the draft environmental impact report (“DEIR”) is scheduled for release by the end of June 2011. The DEIR will make the ultimate determination as to how many miles the tracks will extend past Fresno to the north.