Infrastructure Funds May be Limited for California High-Speed Rail Authority

Funding for the California bullet train depends on how the law is administered and developed into grant programs.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the funding for the bullet train may not be as much as many have hoped for.

Exactly how much money will reach various rail projects — including the financially challenged California bullet train — is still an unknown and will depend on how the complex law is administered and developed into grant programs. Hopes for a $100-billion national high-speed rail program, a goal backed by former secretaries of transportation, labor unions, major engineering firms and rail advocates, were dashed by the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Most of the money for rail systems will go to Amtrak’s service on the East Coast, various long-distance Amtrak routes and freight rail systems.

The follow-up social and climate legislation, the so-called Build Back Better bill, contains a $10-billion clause for high-speed rail projects across the country, as well. The clause, sponsored by high-speed rail advocate Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), has speed requirements that could be met only by California’s ongoing project, as well as proposed projects in Texas and a Cucamonga-to-Las Vegas train. Whether the funding stays in the legislation and whether the entire bill will pass the Senate is unclear.

If that $10 billion is spread out, the benefit to the California High-Speed Rail Authority will be modest. One consultant, speaking on background, estimated that the California bullet train might get about $4 billion out of both pieces of legislation.

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