Today, Governor Newsom and the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Agency (HDC JPA) was awarded a grant of $8 million from the California State Transportation Agency’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). The grant will support preliminary engineering and other project development activities for the High Desert Corridor Intercity High-Speed Rail Project (Project) spanning 54 miles between Palmdale (Los Angeles County) and the Victor Valley (San Bernardino County).

“Today’s investment from the California State Transportation Agency will enable the JPA to leverage additional local and Federal funding and continue building momentum for this critical High Speed Rail Project,” said Kathryn Barger, Chair of the HDC JPA Board of Directors and Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor. “We sincerely appreciate Governor Newsom and Secretary Omishakin for their support for this vital investment in the high desert communities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties.”

By providing a mobility connection between the planned California High Speed Rail systems and the Brightline West corridor, the HDC Project will enable convenient, safe, and reliable High-Speed Rail service from Las Vegas Nevada to Los Angeles County and points beyond. It will serve a growing intercity travel market consisting of over 70 million annual trips by 2035. The Project is anticipated to attract most of its ridership from auto and air travel, and thereby reduce GHG emissions by nearly 46,000 metric tons annually.

“We are excited by the California state grant award investing in the Victor Valley”, said Elizabeth Becerra, Vice Chair of the HDC JPA Board of Directors (and Council Member, City of Victorville). “The High Desert Corridor High Speed Rail Project furthers the goals contained in the CA State Rail Plan to integrate other transit services and operators such as California High Speed Rail, Brightline West, Metrolink and Amtrak, which opens access to new markets, and increases access to jobs and housing for the Victor Valley in San Bernardino County.”

“Los Angeles County Metro is extremely pleased that Governor Newsom and CalSTA joined Metro in recognizing the need to invest in intercity high speed rail for the historically underserved communities in the high desert of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties,” said Ara Najarian, Member, HDC JPA Board of Directors and Metro, Chair of the Board of Directors.

“The City of Palmdale is delighted with the $8 million grant award from CalSTA to the High Desert Corridor High Speed Rail Project,” said Eric Ohlsen, Member, HDC JPA Board of Directors (and Council Member, City of Palmdale). “Palmdale looks forward to being a major connection hub between the CA High Speed Rail Authority Project coming from Bakersfield and northern California to the Brightline West project coming from the Victor Valley and Las Vegas, Nevada.”

The TIRCP award will be matched by $8.5 million in Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Measure M sales tax funds. The HDC JPA is also working with the Federal Railroad Administration to secure entry into the Federal Corridor Identification and Development Program, which will unlock Federal funding for the Project and complement committed California State and local investments in the HDC High Speed Rail Project.

During its design and construction phases, the HDC Project is estimated to generate over 61,000 one-year full-time equivalent construction jobs, and will bring significant economic opportunities to the region, with many of the wage benefits flowing to disadvantaged local communities located along the Project corridor.

A contract which will enable design work to proceed is anticipated to be awarded in late 2023.

“We look forward to working with all our Partners In Transportation at the federal, state and local levels to make high speed rail travel a reality for the high desert communities of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties,” said Arthur Sohikian, Executive Director, HDC JPA.

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Read More: Barger Reacts to $8M State Grant Awarded to High Desert Corridor Rail Project