RFP issued for $1.6 billion high speed rail project

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority is moving forward with a potential $1.6 billion Request for Proposals (RFP) for a 30-year track and systems contract for Northern-to-Southern California bullet train project.

The authority issued the RFP to three design-build groups on Dec. 19 – despite receiving a letter from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), stating it would not approve the RFP as written.

The FRA objected to plans to issue such a large contract when the Authority is “struggling with delays related to ongoing construction and had failed to demonstrate funding commitments for the new work.”

CHRSA CEO Brian Kelly told the board members at a meeting that the authority will reach out to the FRA to address its concerns and discuss potential RFP modifications, which primarily pertained to technical elements.”

The cost for the Northern-to-Southern California bullet train route is estimated at $77 billion. Gov. Gavin Newsom temporarily stopped all but the 119-mile, $10.6 billion stretch of the route between Bakersfield and Merced.

The three companies competing for the project are:

  • Bombardier-Salcef-Weitz Consortium — Bombardier Transportation (Holdings) USA Inc., Salcef S.p.A., The Weitz Company LLC and Bombardier Transportation (Global Holding) UK Limited.
  • California High-Speed Rail Constructors — Fluor Enterprises Inc., Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc., AECOM, SYSTRA and Egis Rail.
  • Hitachi Acciona Copasa California Rail Partners — Hitachi Rail STS USA Inc., Acciona Construction USA Corp., S.A. de Obras y Servicios, COPASA, Hatch Associates Consultants Inc., Typsa; Colas Rail, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane S.p.A., Hitachi Rail STS S.p.A. and Acciona Construccion S.A.

According to the project website, 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.

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 and eventually extending 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 state-wide rail modernization plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs.

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