SACRAMENTO — The California High-Speed Rail Authority board voted 6-0 to approve a $985.1 million contract to start construction on the first leg of the $68 billion rail line in the Central Valley, with work possibly starting this summer, according to The San Jose Mercury News.
Sylmar, Calif.-based Tutor Perini Corp.’s bid was the cheapest out of five received by the state to begin work on the first 30-mile section from Madera to Fresno, however, also had the lowest technical rating for safety and design, drawing public scrutiny and prompting more than an hour of questions to the high-speed rail authority staff from board members.
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In additional California High-Speed Rail Authority news, the board also voted to transfer full leadership and funding for rail planning in the Altamont Corridor to the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC).
The SJRRC operates the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE), which connects the Central Valley and Silicon Valley via the Altamont Corridor and serves a million commuters per year.
The approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) builds upon the partnership between the authority and regional partner SJRRC since 2008. The MOU will allow the SJRRC to focus on near-term improvements to speed up and increase ACE service on the existing tracks and plan for regional service connections to Modesto and Merced. The authority will remain a partner in the planning process and the long-term goal of tying into the high-speed rail system will continue to inform the planning process.