Groundbreaking held today in Fresno for California high-speed rail project

The event and sound begins about the four-minute mark of the above video.

The groundbreaking is for the first 29-mile segment between Fresno and Madera in the Central Valley. The goal is for the project to eventually connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with a high-speed rail station as part of the Union Station complex. That, of course, would make reaching the bullet train pretty easy considering Union Station is the largest transit hub in Southern California.

A lot more information on the project and the different sections of the route planned are available at the California High-Speed Rail Authority website.

Here is the news release from the Authority, the agency overseeing the project:

FRESNO— Marking significant progress toward modernizing California’s transportation infrastructure, the California High-Speed Rail Authority today joined hundreds of supporters and government, student, community, transportation, business and labor leaders to break ground on the nation’s first high-speed rail system.

“What is important is the connection that we are rooted in our forebears and we are committed and linked to our descendants,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. at a ceremony held at the site of the future high-speed rail station in downtown Fresno. “And the high-speed rail links us from the past to the future, from the south to Fresno and north; this is truly a California project bringing us together today.”

In addition to the support of federal, state and local dignitaries, there was strong backing from Central Valley and California-based construction crews, small businesses, and local students who were eager to highlight how high-speed rail is positively affecting California today and will continue to into the future.

“We now enter a period of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system—for the next five years in the Central Valley and for a decade after that across California,” said High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors Chairman Dan Richard. “This is an investment that will forever improve the way Californians commute, travel, and live. And today is also a celebration of the renewed spirit that built California.”

The ceremony included remarks from owners of a family-owned steel manufacturer already benefitting from high-speed rail construction. Student leaders from Fresno State and University of California, Merced also explained how high-speed rail is creating new local opportunities.

Although today represented the official groundbreaking ceremony, the event also showcased ground that has already been broken in the Central Valley. The Authority provided tours of nearby construction activity, including various demolition sites. Other achievements to date include finalization of project designs, ongoing right-of-way purchases, and workforce training and mobilization.

Local and statewide small businesses are completing a majority of this work. As of September 2014, 40 small businesses have active contracts valued at $296 million on Construction Package 1, a 29-mile stretch from Avenue 17 in Madera County to East American Avenue in Fresno County. This phase of construction includes 12 grade separations, two viaducts, a tunnel, and a bridge over the San Joaquin River. California-based Tutor Perini Zachry/Parsons (TPZP), A Joint Venture, is designing and building this first phase of the project.


About California High-Speed Rail Authority 

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is responsible for planning, designing, building and operation of the first high-speed rail system in the nation. California high-speed rail will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands. By 2029, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a statewide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs. To learn more visit the Authority’s website at and join us on and follow us at


9 replies

  1. Then again it could be the first in a series of High Speed rail routes Vancouver to San Diego, LA to Salt Lake City and Edmonton and even one up the Owens Valley to Bishop, Mammoth, Bend OR and beyond…

    • You had me at Mammoth and then you mentioned Bend. Sigh. OMG, that would be awesome!!!

      I wonder if you would be allowed to take a kayak on board! 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. This whole thing is a cash cow for the politically connected. With the detour through the Antelope Valley it will never meet the time objectives for the state bond (I voted for it) passed by California voters. The best route would be parallel to interstate 5 for most of the way but the winning argument against that route was that it had to pass over the San Andreas fault line. Well guess what, it still has to pass over the San Andreas fault, plus the San Gabriel fault and the Garlock fault, all major fault lines. I predict all the bond money will dry up before any HSR train gets for LA to the Bay Area…

  3. What an unfortunate waste of money. I love mass transit and even the potential of HSR. But this is so overpriced and the technology is so outdated and behind much of the rest of the world. And it is horrible mistake starting near Fresno. It should have been started either in LA or Bay Area.

    • Tornadoes28: What would be a more appropriate cost? What would be the cost of not doing HSR but instead building additional roads, airports, and widening highways to accommodate the same level of growth that HSR would handle? How is the technology outdated? It’s a proven technology that’s used in most major developed countries. We’re just a bit late to the game in adopting the technology.

    • “But this is so overpriced and the technology is so outdated and behind much of the rest of the world.”

      Umm what? High speed rail is still being built all over the world.

      The reason why it starts near Fresno is because it’s cheaper and vast amount of land is there to develop quickly. Start it in San Francisco or LA, you’ll have NIMBYs crying bloody murder and take years to get it done to buy out all the existing homes, businesses, in the way of the path. It’s already 2 years late just to get it off the ground in Fresno. If it were San Francisco or LA, it would take decades to solve all the issues before a shovel is laid to ground.

  4. Hope they are better prepared to build a rail line as opposed to the ridicules pace light rail in Los Angeles has been taking.

    Wasn’t Tudor part of the fiasco constructing MOS 1 (Red Line)? Tunnel walls constructed thinner than designed.