Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Antelope Valley

CA High-Speed Rail Authority Approves Plan for Connection into L.A. County

High-speed rail train rendering – via CAHSRA

Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority approved the final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the 82-mile $19.7 billion Bakersfield to Palmdale section. That segment would bring high-speed rail into northern Los Angeles County.

The CAHSRA currently has 119 miles of high-speed rail under construction through California's Central Valley. That initial Central Valley segment will operate between Bakersfield and Merced, with conventional-speed rail connections to San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. HSR will reach San Francisco directly some years after that.

CAHSR Bakersfield to Palmdale section map - via CAHSRA staff report
CAHSR Bakersfield to Palmdale section map - via CAHSRA staff report
CAHSR Bakersfield to Palmdale section map - via CAHSRA staff report

From Bakersfield, building south requires crossing the Tehachapi Mountains, which isn't easy or cheap. The plan calls for nine tunnels, totaling over ten miles, and fifteen miles of aerial structures. See SBCA's 2020 interview for more Bakersfield to Palmdale rail details.

There are still many more steps before the Bakersfield to Palmdale segment becomes a reality.

First, there are a few more administrative approvals. The CAHSRA will need to issue a Record of Decision (under federal environmental law - the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA) and to file a Notice of Determination (under state environmental law - the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.)

And then there's the funding.

CAHSRA is still fighting for the legislature to approve Governor Newsom's proposal to release $4.2 billion in already-voter-approved Prop 1A bond funding largely to complete the Merced-to-Bakersfield segment. This proposed funding is supported by construction worker unions, but opposed by Southern California politicians pushing dubious schemes to divert the money to their districts.

This week's approval doesn't solve the funding questions, but it does put the Bakerfield-Palmdale section in a good position to catch some federal infrastructure money. President Biden has signaled his support for funding electric high-speed trains in the state. Getting more CAHSR sections "shovel-ready" means they will be better positioned to get those federal funds.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Advocates Share What It Takes to Fight Highway Expansions in Court 

What does it take to sue your state DOT? Time, money, the right partners, and a little creativity, a recent survey of activists found.

July 19, 2024

Friday Video: Paris Does it Again

Come for the bike-friendly streets, but stay for adopt-a-tree program and all the car-free school roadways.

July 19, 2024

Neighbors Want a BART Stop in San Antonio

It's one of the most densely populated parts of the Bay Area. BART goes right through it. So why not stop there?

July 19, 2024

Friday’s Headlines

Rep. Waters hates the people mover; SacRT's new transportation hub; Lessons learned from a long bike ride; More

July 19, 2024

The Active Transportation Program Has to Strategize About its Severely Reduced Funding

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024
See all posts