Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
California's high speed rail route
- A chance to be involved in the largest ever construction project in the history of the United States has been issued by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. A Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) released this week with a March 16 reply date will contribute to development of the project and lead to a first official Request For Proposals (RFP) by the end of this year (2011). Respondents will be invited to a follow-up industry forum to take place in Los Angeles on 12 April.
- At a preliminary estimate of $40 billion, the total 800-mile route includes some 30-50 miles of underground and tunnel alignment.
- President Obama has taken promotion of high-speed rail across the United States as a personal campaign and has committed $53 billion in Federal funds to nationwide high-speed rail projects over the next six years. Approximately $3.6 billion was allocated to the California project in 2010.
- Californian taxpayers did their part in leading the nation onto the same transportation playing field as occupied by much of Europe and Asia in November 2008 with approval of a $9.95 billion transportation bond measure that will contribute local funds to the project. In part because of that leadership, California has received more Federal funding for high-speed rail than any other state in the nation. Vice President Joe Biden's announcement this week to the longer-term Federal commitment to California's high-speed vision gives rise for serious input from stakeholders interested in participating in the future of the project.
Vision of a high-speed rail station
- In response, Roelof van Ark, Chief Executive Officer California High-Speed Rail Authority released the official RFEI asking companies and organizations – small and large, privately and publicly owned, domestic and international, in all relevant fields – to outline their interest. This can apply to the initial construction segment – about 120 miles through California's Central Valley – as well as to any future phases, including its design, construction, financing, core systems, operations, and maintenance.
- While a response to the RFEI is not a prerequisite to participating in the procurement process, submissions will be used to assist in shaping the procurement process and ahead of the first official Request For Proposals (RFP) at the end of this calendar year. RFEI submissions will not be evaluated or 'ranked' and respondents will be invited to an industry forum to take place in Southern California in Spring 2011 to brief interested parties and allow for further detailed conversation.
Roelof van Ark, Project CEO since June 2010
- High-speed rail in California will mean a fast, affordable, convenient and clean way of traveling between its urban centers. It will alleviate pressure on its freeways and airports, and it will provide employment for tens of thousands of workers.
- "Make no mistake: this project requires the support of the people of California, a long-term commitment from the federal government, which now is more secure than ever, and a significant investment from the private sector," said CEO van Ark. "This begins with active participation in the RFEI process and we look forward to hearing from all potential stakeholders and collaborators."
- Responses are requested by March 16, 2011.
California high-speed rail – Video interview - TunnelCast, May 2008
California fixes high-speed rail route - TunnelTalk, July 2008
California to bring HSR to North America – Video report - TunnelCast, November 2008
President Obama kick starts US high-speed rail - TunnelTalk, February 2010
America's high speed rail aspirations - TunnelTalk, September 2006
Americans approve billions for transit projects - TunnelTalk, November 2008
President Obama's vision for high speed rail - TunnelTalk, December 2009
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