Sacramento, Calif. -- The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) met Thursday to discuss updates on federal funding and how it will attempt to obtain a chunk of the $8 billion dedicated for high-speed rail in President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill. The discussion at the meeting was full of speculation since requirements to receive the federal funding have yet to be set and won't be issued until as late as June 17, according to CHSRA Chairman Quentin Kopp.

California has been thought by many transportation experts as the state furthest along in plans to build a high-speed rail system. Californians approved Proposition 1A in November 2008, which authorized a $9 billion bond for the project. The estimated cost to build the 800-mile system -- which would link San Francisco to Los Angeles -- is $45 billion, according to the CHSRA Web site.

Like California, many state and local governments are finding themselves in limbo. They know there's funding out there to apply for, but the requirements to attain the federal money have yet to be announced.

CHSRA board member Lynn Schenk said as the authority has almost exhausted its operating budget, it's reaching a "dire situation." It might soon have to issue an order to stop work, but it would be bad timing since the stimulus bill is looking to fund shovel-ready projects as soon as possible.

"In order to really apply for these funds we must show progress," said Carrie Pourvahidi, deputy director of the CHSRA.


View Full Story
Elaine Rundle  |  Staff Writer