Published December 7, 2023, by scvnews.com.
The California Transportation Commission allocated $8 million Thursday from the California State Transportation Agency’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program to the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Agency. The grant award allocation will support preliminary engineering and other project development activities for the High Desert Corridor Intercity High-Speed Rail Project spanning 54 miles between Palmdale and the Victor Valley in San Bernardino County.
(Today’s) investment from the California Transportation Commission enables the JPA to leverage additional local and Federal funding so that we can 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, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. “We sincerely appreciate Gov. Newsom, Secretary Omishakin, and California Transportation Commissioners for their support of this vital project. This is a significant public infrastructure investment in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties’ High Desert. Both will greatly benefit from the economic development that will sprout from improved mobility to, from, and through the region.”
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 allocation 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 Governor Newsom and California Transportation Commissioners 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 thrilled with the $8 million grant allocation from the California Transportation Commission 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 grant award allocation 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.
“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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