The Peninsula segment of Caliornia's high-speed rail project will not be the first to be funded with $4.3 billion in federal stimulus funds, according to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
In a letter received Wednesday by the Authority's CEO Roelof van Ark, Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo said the federal agency will require that all federal funds for the project be directed either to the Merced-to-Fresno or the Fresno-to-Bakersfield portion of the project.
"The Central Valley is indeed key to creating the core of a true high-speed rail system in California, as that is where our trains will travel truly high speeds of 220 miles per hour," van Ark said in a statement Thursday. "But no matter where we start building, the goal remains the same: a statewide high-speed rail system up and running in 2020 connecting the Bay Area with the metropolitan area of Los Angeles and Anaheim, that creates thousands of jobs, improves air quality and provides us all with a cheaper, faster and more convenient way to travel."
The total available federal funds incorporates the Authority's January 2010 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal funding award, matched dollar-for-dollar with state funds, and last week's award of $715 million matched with an additional 30 percent in state funding.