Rendering via the California High Speed Rail Authority
Written by Frank Lopez
The Rotary Club of Fresno held its first in-person meeting since March 2020, kicking off its return to live meetings with a special guest.
Henry R. Perea, board member for the California High-Speed Rail Authority and former Fresno County Supervisor, joined the meeting on Monday morning to provide a status update on the build out of the project and discuss potential future development.
This first meeting was only available to registered members who could provide proof of vaccination. The meeting was also available for viewing on Zoom.
Perea noted that 199 miles have been environmentally cleared and 119 miles are currently under construction.
Around 5,500 jobs have been created since construction on the project began, he said.
Phase 1 consists of the construction of 520 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim. Phase 2 consists of making connections from Sacramento to San Diego with 300 miles of connection.
“People ask, ‘is the project happening,’” Perea said. “If you’re in the Valley you see the construction going up, but it’s a bit more difficult for the people from the outside of the Valley to see.”
In 2020, 56 structures for the project were completed or in construction. The monthly expense on design and build contracts for 2020 was $68.13 million, up from $30.47 million in 2018.
The construction will come in 3 different packages. Packages 1,2-3 are expected to be completed in December 2023, and package 4 in April 2022.
Construction Package 1 (CP 1) is the first significant construction contract executed on the Initial Operating Section of the project.
During the next 12-15 month, there will be appropriations for the budget act of 2021, and track and systems contracts will be awarded to commence work in 2022.
The second and third construction packages (CP 2-3) will have a construction area extending 65 miles from the end point of CP 1 in Fresno County to one mile north of the Tulare-Kern County line.
CP 2-3 will include around 36 grade separations in the counties of Fresno, Tulare and Kings, including viaducts, underpasses and over passes.
In 2019, the state of California filed a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s plan to terminate $929 million in grant funds previously awarded, but not distributed. The case is currently in active settlement negotiations.
As part of his presentation, Perea recognized Tree Fresno for planting 3,115 trees throughout the Central Valley as part of an urban greening grant, overshooting the stated goal of 2,400 trees.