Home>Articles>California Receives Initial $58 Million from DOT for High Speed Rail Transit, Cycling ‘Infrastructure’ Projects

Senator Dianne Feinstein (Photo: Feinstein.senate.gov)

California Receives Initial $58 Million from DOT for High Speed Rail Transit, Cycling ‘Infrastructure’ Projects

Funding ‘was really supposed to repair and maintain current infrastructure’

By Evan Symon, November 20, 2021 2:17 am

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) announced on Friday that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has given it’s first grants from the recently passed $1 Trillion infrastructure bill to California, with $58 million going to transportation projects in Northern California and to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority was the biggest recipient of the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Grant Program, receiving $24 million to expand state route 46 in the Kern County city of Wasco to be a staging and storing area. Another $18 will go to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) for an earthquake retrofit of the Yerba Buena Island west side bridge, as well as greater access to the bridge for cyclists.

Oakland will receive $14.5 million to enhance their civic hub by improving walking, cycling, and public transportation projects, with a special focus on connecting Oakland with San Francisco via rail lines such as BART and Amtrak. Finally, the Yolo County Transportation District (YCTD) will get $1.2 million to fill in gaps of their current transportation system, as well as to improve bike and walking networks.

Both Senators noted on Friday the importance of these early infrastructure funding blocks.

“My thanks to Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg and the Transportation Department for these grants that will help California continue to modernize our transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Feinstein. “These projects include providing safer, more connected bikeways and walkways in San Francisco; assisting the City of Wasco with creating safer railway infrastructure; and connecting biking and walking paths in Oakland and Yolo County. Promoting cleaner, safer modes of transportation is a key part of improving California’s infrastructure.”

An initial $58 million in infrastructure funds

Senator Alex Padilla (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Senator Padilla, who has served less than a year as Senator, also noted that “From day one, I have worked to ensure that we use our infrastructure investments to help reconnect our communities, and I am proud to see federal efforts to do just that. From San Francisco to Wasco, this critical funding will help make our roads and bridges safer, help decongest our highways, and allow for more Californians to access our outdoor trails. As we continue to make significant investments in our state and nation’s aging infrastructure, I will continue to advocate for funding that serves our most in-need communities.”

However, many critics and experts criticized the funding on Friday for favoring bike projects over safety and repair projects.

“Whether you wanted the bill to pass or not, the point is we have it now,” San Diego-based urban planner and transportation planner Michael McGuiness Jr. told the Globe Friday. “But that was really supposed to repair and maintain current infrastructure, or build new pieces as needed. Instead, California gave a hint at where its money would be going today by putting most of it into mass transit and cycling. There was a needed bridge project in San Francisco, but that’s really about it. The largest chunk even went into the high-speed rail project, which is billions over budget and years behind schedule. So a lot is going into a future white elephant.”

“Plus, they largely ignored huge swats of the state, including all of California south of Bakersfield and north of the Bay. At first glance, these grants don’t look like they’re fairly going out.”

More grants and funding coming into California for infrastructure projects are expected to be announced soon.

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17 thoughts on “California Receives Initial $58 Million from DOT for High Speed Rail Transit, Cycling ‘Infrastructure’ Projects

  1. Wasteful money going to high speed rail when only the luxury and tourist class are going to use it instead of improving existing transportation.

    1. Not true. There is a wealth of proof showing commuters will use the new high speed rail system instead of cars, which will greatly reduce carbon emissions and other polutants.

      1. There’s only 24 stations for the stops. The middle class aren’t going to use it as cars are more efficient. Even for most of the working class they can’t use it, as work will have to be close to that station or just happens to be en route by public transportation. In all, it’s really for occasional vacationers or tourists as you’re connecting people across California instead of across cities in a county or across adjacent counties as the high speed rail just takes in one direction instead of a complex network.

      2. Hate to break this to you but there has been a high speed rail system in existence for years WITH NO TAX DOLLARS INVOLVED. It’s called, ta da (drum roll please) : Southwest Airlines!

      3. Not so, Sparkles . . . .

        IF you consider the time it will take for the High Speed Rail to travel from Merced to Bakersfield, making a tortal of what . . . 3 stops along the way and 30 minutes per stop plus the time it takes for the high speed rail to slow down for those stops and then speed up once they leave for the next destination?

        PLUS . . . Once in Bakersfield, all commuters will have to transfer to buses to make it ov er the Grape Vine into Los Angeles.

        Now I can leave Merced at 12 noon, be in Bakersfield at 3pm, and over the Grape Vine into Los Angeles by 4:40-5:00pm. Have my vehicle with me so no need to splurge for a taxi to go everyplace I need to go.

    2. Follow the money….

      Democrat Politicians will reap rewards on lands purchased along and through this railway. That is the driver of desire for this train.

  2. Ahh but the elitist plan has always been about getting you out of your gas guzzling car and pedaling on a bike made for one!

    It is reverse engineering, we become more like China and China becomes moe like us. Why else would Empty Shelves Joe send 1.6 million barrels of crude from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Americans can’t fill their gas tanks?


    1. Totally Agree! High speed railway was a failure from day1! Was intended for wealthy, paid for by middle class taxpayers. Losing billion$ and years behind, with Democrats printing million$ more to GIVE to the Rich Developer$! Meanwhile, Not much going to Repairing aging infrastructure! ????????????????????‍♂️????????????

  3. not one damn dime to this Huge traffic disaster in s
    Southern Calif are you serious this is why I never voted for this lying bitch she has all the money going North she definitely on a payroll politicians cannot be trust not party none!

  4. Cycling pathways. I sure that those persons that work in Los Angeles and down south are going to appreciate them. Now it will take them 4 hours or more to get to work rather than 2. Wow progress.

  5. All this whining, because a few dollars aren’t being spent on places to drive pickup trucks? Infrastructure includes safe places to walk and bike, and other forms of transportation, not just highways for ICE dinosaurs.

  6. It is political pork! They are taking the money you unwillingly gave them to pay back their campaign contributors!
    Very simple. Has been going on for decades. Don’t be so naive to think that it is going to do some good for the general population! Doing something for cyclists or the environment is a smoke screen, a Trojan horse!
    These pols don’t give a damn about the general public…………never have.

  7. Good, but not enough. I would have thought the infrastructure bill would have given high speed rail billions. This is a pittance. CASHR is a good project that really highlighted the need for governance and CEQA reform – California really needs new rail. Los Angeles and the East Bay are rail-ready cities because they were built around electric trains. It’s one of those projects like the California Aqueduct that will bring economic benefit – plus no TSA.

  8. There MUST be funding for rail service south of the Bay Area to Monterey County, where, comparatively, real estate is still “affordable,” and people earning “city life” compensation can actually enjoy quality of life while not turning over most of the their discretionary income to out of control, costly, and beyond reasonable housing costs.

  9. Most of the taxpayer dollars will be funneled to consultants and political non-profits connected with the Democrat party and very little will be left for “infrastructure?”

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