The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors has approved an environmental report and preferred route for the state’s high-speed rail expansion through the Bay Area, bringing the project closer to reality.
The board’s unanimous vote on Thursday to certify the final environmental report for the section between San Francisco and San Jose paves the way for the 43-mile expansion between the two cities, according to a statement of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
“We are closer than ever to achieving a first in the country, a statewide high-speed rail system,” Tom Richards, chairman of the authority, said in a statement.
The extension’s approval sets the stretch between San Jose and San Francisco to be “shovel-ready” when funding becomes available, said Anthony Lopez, chief information officer for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. .
It also means more than 420 miles of the project’s 500-mile program is now environmentally certified, Lopez said.
The section to link to the San Francisco Bay Area and Peninsula to San Jose, the Central Valley and Los Angeles County.
According to the press release, the council has selected an alternate route from the San Francisco to San Jose leg that will share Caltrain’s commuter tracks. The route will depart from the previously approved San Jose high-speed rail station and will include new high-speed rail stations in San Francisco and Millbrae, the construction of a light maintenance facility on the east side of the Caltrain corridor in Brisbane, and other security and speed projects.
The high-speed rail program, construction of which has begun in parts of the state, has been beset by delays, criticism from communities and politicians, and funding issues. According to the San Francisco Chronicleabout $25 billion is still needed for the newly approved leg and for a segment of Silicon Valley that was approved last spring.
A 2022 business plan released in February estimates the full 500-mile high-speed system between Los Angeles and San Francisco will cost up to $105 billion, up from $100 billion two years ago. In 2008, when voters approved a bond to help build the railroad, the authority estimated the system would cost $33 billion.