Published December 8, 2023, by

The Federal Railroad Administration announced a $500,000 grant award from the Corridor Identification and Development Program to the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Agency. The grant award allocation will support the High Desert Corridor Intercity High-Speed Rail Corridor Project between Palmdale and the Victor Valley for scope development, schedule and cost estimates for preparing, completing, or documenting its service development plan.

The 54-mile High Speed Rail Project between the two high desert communities will provide access to housing, jobs, entertainment, and cultural opportunities across Southern California while reducing freeway congestion to areas that have been historically underserved. Eventually, the corridor will connect Southern California to Northern California via the California High Speed Rail Project while connecting to the Brightline West project to Las Vegas. The HDC could provide a one seat ride between Los Angeles County and Las Vegas.

“Today’s announcement of the inclusion of the HDC Project in the New Intercity Corridor ID Program is a key component of making good on promises made to our L.A. County constituents,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Chair of the HDC JPA Board of Directors and Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor. “Moving aggressively to deliver this project is one of my priorities. I am pleased to see this vote of confidence from the Federal Railroad Administration. We also sincerely appreciate President Biden, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, and FRA Administrator Bose for their partnership. Their support is essential so that we can deliver vital investments in the communities of 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.

“The High Desert Corridor project is one of the most advanced high-speed rail projects in America,” said Ezra Silk, Political Director of the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition. “Recent federal and state grant awards illustrate the vital partnership needed to achieve high speed rail train service in the United States. The High Desert Corridor High Speed Rail Project is a critical link for the emerging West Coast Corridor connecting Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco with the Brightline West and the California High-Speed Rail projects.”

“We are thrilled by the Federal Railroad Administration federal grant award investing in the Victor Valley,” said Elizabeth Becerra, Vice Chair of the HDC JPA Board of Directors and Vice Mayor, 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 the federal government 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 Board of Directors.

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

The FRA grant award will be matched by $500,000 in Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Measure M sales tax funds. The federal award, coupled with the California Transportation Commission allocation of $8 million from the California State Transportation Agency’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, allows the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Agency to continue project development.

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.

“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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