Update on the Bullet Train

From the project's Northern California Regional Director

Road 27 grade sep in Madera County, part of the HSR spine. Photo: CAHSRA
Road 27 grade sep in Madera County, part of the HSR spine. Photo: CAHSRA

As Mark Twain might have said had he witnessed the past couple of months, the reports of the death of California’s statewide high-speed rail system are greatly exaggerated.

There’s been a good deal of confusion regarding the future of the project in the Bay Area. The confusion is much fueled, it appears, by misunderstanding following Governor Newsom’s State of the State Address.

As Northern California’s Regional Director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, I want to provide an accurate update on the status of the project in the Bay Area and Northern California.

The direction laid out by the Governor is similar to what the Authority had put forth in our 2018 Business Plan. Where we are building today in the Central Valley, the Governor wants us to finish the entire 171-mile Central Valley stretch to connect the three largest cities, totaling nearly one million Californians, and provide new economic opportunities to the region as we get trains rolling.


Beyond the Central Valley, we will continue the planning and environmental clearance efforts from San Francisco to Merced–this will take the next two years. The next milestone in this process will be our Board of Directors identifying preferred alternatives for the San Francisco to San Jose and San Jose to Merced project sections in September of this year. We are also continuing to pursue an agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad that would allow us to utilize the existing rail corridor from San Jose through Morgan Hill to Gilroy while extending electrified Caltrain service to Southern Santa Clara County. By advancing the environmental clearance and project development efforts in Northern California we will be prepared to utilize any new federal, state and/or private funding that may become available to complete the system in Northern California and connect to the Central Valley and eventually to Southern California.

In addition to our work in advancing planning for the system, we also intend to fulfill our commitments to the investments already underway in Northern and Southern California that will become parts of the system over time but provide immediate benefits today. In Northern California, this includes the $713 million for the Caltrain Electrification Project and $84 million for the 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project in San Mateo. And we will continue to collaborate with regional partners on planning for the Gilroy, Diridon, Millbrae, and San Francisco Stations.

I was recently reminded of what of BART’s legendary General Manager B.R. Stokes said when advocating for funding that transformative project: “Build it now; it will never be cheaper.” Today’s arguments around costs are as old as the oldest mass transit dreams spoken in California. With that in mind, we’re moving steadily forward to make high-speed rail a reality in the Bay Area and all of California. We see clearly a future when high-speed rail is as much a part of the California lifestyle and our regional economic structure as BART is today for the Bay Area while the furor over costs and funding are long behind us.

In the last few weeks, we have seen folks up and down the state re-express their desire and commitment to connecting the different regions of the state using high-speed rail to tie our economies and communities together. Folks from across the state are fervently looking for a solution to our transit and housing crises. Their voices have carried far and wide. This public discourse will only help our pursuit of future funding for completing not only our Northern California project sections, but those routes that will connect the Bay Area to the other major business and recreational areas of this vast and diverse state, making us all one California.

Boris Lipkin is the Northern California Regional Director for the California High-Speed Rail Authority

  • zoom314

    Then no one outside CA should benefit from the Pacific Sea Ports in CA or from CA grown crops.

  • zoom314

    ARRA funds do not have a clawback feature and trump is not Congress, trump wants to steal the money, the agreement goes until sometime in 2022 for all 119 miles.

    trump hires for Loyalty and wins 6% of the cases in court, CA hires experts who win about 90% of the time and CA has a Contract, for trump to try and take the money before the deadline would be a breach of contract.

  • zoom314

    It’s a moot point right now as the trump DOT is not even approving the Final EIS for the WYE to San Jose, so it can wait, trump is not going to be potus forever.

  • SFnative74

    Would be nice if all the welfare states would stop taking more federal taxes than they pay. California pays more than its fair share.

  • Flatline42

    I’d rather imminent domain build a train than a wall. But that’s just me.

  • Robert Tupilo

    It is just you and the rest of Taxafornia and NY.

  • Claude

    Nah, you don’t sound like the sort who would take a train. You don’t even know they have cities in the heavily populated Hwy 99 corridor.
    They even have electric lighting in the San Joaquin Valley these days. It’s noting like you would expect.

  • zoom314

    CA has been expensive since the housing boom started in the 1970’s, everyone here accepts that fact.

  • zoom314

    It’s $2.55 Billion in ARRA funds President Obama signed for and that trump will never get his tiny hands on. Guaranteed.

  • zoom314

    trump ain’t gonna get a penny back, He hires Amateurs who win 6% of the time, CA hires Sharks and wins over 90%, trump will never see a penny of that ARRA Money, I guarantee that and trump is a weak potus.

  • Claude

    So when California’s economy is stronger and the Federal government gets more tax revenue to build more freeway interchanges in your area you don’t benefit?
    Or is it only a direct benefit when money is put directly into your pocket?

  • Claude

    Chinese citizens don’t have any of those pesky rights that interfere with construction.

  • The question would be…what do we do with Amtrak between Merced and Bakersfield? At this juncture high speed rail is still a boondoggle and a waste of tax payer money.

  • George Joseph Lane

    I still can’t believe how dumb the opposition to this is.

  • Rosemary

    I actually generate around $6,000-$8,000 each month over the internet. It is indeed enough to surely substitute my old work earnings, specifically taking into consideration I actually work approximately 20 hour or so every week from a home office.I dropped my job after doing work for the same business enterprise for years, I needed very trustworthy earnings. I was not interested in packages that miguide you to make you millionnare within few days as you can see online. Those all are sort of ponzi mlm marketing schemes in which you need to initially create leads and then sell something to friends and relatives or any person to make sure they will be in your team. The best part of working over the internet is that I am always home with the children and also enjoy time with family on different beaches of the world. Honestly,it is simpler than you would think, all you need to do is submit a very simple form to get front line access to the Home Profit System. The instructions are really simple, you don’t have to be a computer whiz, but you should be aware how to use the internet. It is as simple as being on Facebook. Here’s the only way to start => http://w3url.com/UZ

  • Robert Tupilo

    Here’s my offer: Voters were told years ago it would cost $33 billion and be up and running by 2020. Current estimate; $77 billion+, completed whenever. 2.3x over budget. I want $2 Billion back (do the math)

  • defuncted up

    Its funny how you have absolutely no idea how project funding works and still post comments with HORRIBLE math to make a (weak) point.

  • Robert Tupilo

    CA has no idea how project funding works either apparently.

  • Claude

    Then maybe you’re aware that the population density of the San Joaquin Valley floor is slightly higher than France, and the Hwy-99 corridor has a density rivaling the Paris -Lyon corridor.
    Hardly “empty field” class nowhere.
    With a population over a half million people, Fresno is the fifth largest city in California and the 34th largest in the US. That means it’s larger than the largest cities in at least 20 states.
    Bakersfield is the 52nd largest in the nation, being on par with the largest cities in several states.
    I’ll grant you, you can regurgitate the political slogans with the best of them, but that empty field is getting more crowded all the time.
    I don’t mind if people are against the project, but they should make legitimate arguments based on fact.

  • Aubrey

    Fresno is nowhere and the empty field north of Bakersfield is an empty field, and talking about the Paris-Lyon corridor is farcical without Paris or Lyon.

  • Claude

    No matter how large the city or how big the population, if reality doesn’t match the rhetoric then reality has to go!

  • Aubrey

    It would matter how big it was if it were in any way big.

  • NFA

    That’s what she said.

  • Claude

    A city of a half million people is now a ghost town. I’m glad construction didn’t start in LA. Could you imagine that as a vacant wasteland with no human habitation, except for the 4 million people who don’t count because “train”?

  • Aubrey

    No, Los Angeles is somewhere. Bakersfield and Fresno are nowhere.

  • SylkaChan

    It shouldn’t take more than ten years from now to complete. Couldn’t they go through the desert to get from Bakersfield and Los Angeles?

  • SylkaChan

    Yeah. What’s making it so hard to build? Other countries have made bigger projects for a long time. Other states have it easier because their flat, but the US should learn from other countries.

  • SylkaChan

    We need plug in stations to replace gas stations, or some of them at least.

  • SylkaChan

    They could at least open the train for the red line part in less than ten years. If they
    used that rail, than at least all the time and money wouldn’t be a waste.


SPUR Talk: High-Speed Rail on its Way to Northern California

High-Speed Rail construction is well underway in the Central Valley, said Ben Tripousis, Northern California Regional Director for the California High Speed Rail Authority, during a forum at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s (SPUR) Mission Street center. “The High-Speed Rail question has shifted from ‘if’ to ‘when,'” he told the packed house at today’s […]

California: Ground Zero in the High Speed Rail Wars

On Thursday, the California High Speed Rail Authority accepted the resignation of Ogilvy Public Relations. The PR firm was about to get axed over accusations that it billed excessively while doing little to counter a tide of anti-rail propaganda. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, at the Rosemead Community Recreation Center, east of Los Angeles, the Authority displayed […]

Bay Area Won’t Likely Get First High Speed Rail Segment

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CAHSRA) Board of Directors won’t make a decision on where to start building California’s first high-speed rail segment until December, but nearly everyone can see the writing on the wall. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Adminstrator Joe Szabo wrote [pdf] CAHSRA CEO Roelof van Ark on Wednesday to inform him that […]