Rebecca in our office was able to go the High Speed Rail event in the City of Los Angeles on Tuesday. This event was attended by nearly 2,000 individuals, many of which traveled from other countries to hear the presentation. Much of the event was dedicated to going over the roughly 1,100 responses to the Request for Expression of Interest Documents.
The attitude of the presenters was hopeful and encouraging to all those in the audience interested in being a part of the incredible undertaking. Roelof Van Ark said that despite the bureaucracy, the project was moving forward, “2010 was good, and 2011 will be better!”
The speakers said that the 500 mile Central Valley section should begin construction in 2012. Currently, the project is undergoing NEPA and CEQA, but is on track to secure environmental clearances by 2012. Public input in alignments is still ongoing.
One interesting point Mr. Van Ark stated was that the Federal Government mandated that the Central Valley portion of the rail needed to have independent utility, and link up to the rail lines currently existing so that the track is not forced to lay dormant in the event the project stalls.
The event was a great opportunity to meet prime contractors involved on the project and establish how as a small business to take the next step toward having a hand in HSR coming to the Central Valley.