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The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors has taken a significant stride towards the realization of the nation’s inaugural 220 mph electrified high-speed rail system. The Board’s decision to approve the release of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) marks the next steps in the development of the 171-mile passenger service connecting Merced to Bakersfield.

Board Chair Tom Richards expressed the importance of this milestone, stating, “Today’s approval allows us to move forward and get this transformative project into operations as soon as possible. This is a critical step in our new procurement strategy and yet another important milestone for us to deliver high-speed rail service in the Central Valley and statewide.”

The RFQ is open until January 22, 2024, with the potential for contract execution in April 2024. The contract’s total value could reach up to $131.2 million, including extension options.

This procurement process will enable California High-Speed Rail to:

  • Develop high-level designs for the track and systems along the 171-mile route connecting Merced to Bakersfield, including detailed designs for the 119-mile section currently under active construction within the Central Valley.
  • Design the track system comprehensively, encompassing the track structure, overhead contact systems (OCS), along-track cable containment, across-track ducts, access walkways, fencing, and drainage.
  • Manage technical and non-technical interfaces with contractors and consultants.

Since construction began, California High-Speed Rail has generated more than 11,000 construction jobs, with the majority benefiting Central Valley residents. The expansion from 119 miles to 171 miles of double-track electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield is underway. With over 25 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, the high-speed rail line it has successfully received clearance for 422 miles connecting the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

California High-Speed Rail is ushering in a transformative era in American travel, with this latest step propelling the high-speed rail system closer to operational reality.