California High-Speed Rail

Alta Vista provides program and project management services in support of the California High-Speed Rail Project (CHSR). The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) plans to build a high-speed rail system stretching from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim, and eventually to Sacramento and San Diego. The California Legislature recently approved the first round of funding for the initial 130-mile-long span of track through the Central Valley, from Madera to Bakersfield. The CHSR is the largest California public works project in 50 years. Alta Vista worked with the Program Management Team (PMT) and CHSRA to lead the effort to develop and deliver a Quality Management System (QMS) for the CHSRA. Alta Vista is developing a high-level quality program, followed by a custom QMS that will cover every phase of the program’s life cycle, from planning and design to procurement and construction to operations and maintenance.

California will be joining 11 other countries that already operate high-speed rail service. Initially, the trains will be running from the Bay Area to Southern California in less than 2 hours and 40 minutes, at speeds of up to 220 mph. Subsequently, the system will expand to Sacramento and San Diego, and even to Las Vegas. The project scope covers 800 miles of track and 24 train stations linking  major metropolitan areas and connecting to regional transit and airports. Each train will have a capacity of up to 1,000 passengers with the possibility of running new trains from San Francisco and Los Angeles every 5 minutes.

The planning for the CHSR began in 2008 and was initiated by the passing of California Proposition 1A by voters and the State of California. In July 2012, the California Legislature approved construction financing for the first sections of the project, which includes $4.5 billion in bonds previously approved. This, in turn, secured federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). One more requirement by the DOT required work to begin in the Central Valley. They did so for two reasons:

1. Developing rail infrastructure in relatively flat rural areas allows for lower construction costs as well as more opportunity for necessary testing.

2. By law, ARRA funds must be expended by 2017—a deadline that could not be met if construction were to start in densely populated urban areas.

The first construction contract was awarded in June 2013 to build the infrastructure for the first 29 miles of the system from south of Merced to Fresno.  There have been various delays in moving forward with construction, but, once the first phase is completed, another contract will be awarded for more than 60 miles of infrastructure and track. This section will be built from Fresno to north of Bakersfield, followed by connecting service lines from South and North Los Angeles to San Jose. Revenue service is scheduled for 2022.