California bullet train project lurches ahead as contractor chosen

LOS ANGELES Thu Jun 6, 2013 5:42pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California moved a step closer to building a high-speed train line on Thursday, when a state commission chose a contractor to handle construction of the route's first leg from Merced to Fresno in the state's breadbasket.

The rail line, a major priority of California Governor Jerry Brown, would send passengers hurtling through the state's fertile San Joaquin Valley as they zipped from San Diego to points north, eventually including Sacramento and San Francisco.

The contract set in motion on Thursday would be for designing and building the first portion of the line.

The state received bids from several contractors who wanted to build the project, but settled on a coalition of builders led by Los Angeles-based Tutor Perini Corp.

The company, in partnership with firms including Texas-based Zachry Corp and California-based Parsons Corp, bid just under $1 billion for the project, coming in below rivals who bid up to $500,000 more.

The board's action on Thursday was to authorize the California High-Speed Rail Authority's CEO, Jeff Morales, to begin negotiations with the Tutor Perini partnership.

Morales said in a statement he expected to finalize a contract with the consortium "in the coming weeks."

Critics, however, have said the overall project - estimated to cost $68 billion - is too expensive and should be put on hold.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; editing by Cynthia Johnston, G Crosse)

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Comments (3)
TommyAD wrote:
Ms. Bernstein,

You left out the most important part of the story. The bidding rules were changed in-process to steer the contract to a company owned/controlled by the husband of Senator Diane Feinstein (Richard Blum). Please expose this corruption.

Jun 06, 2013 5:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
totherepublic wrote:

So the gun control nut’s husband gets to build a “bullet” train (as a reward for all her hard work?). Irony. Thanks for pointing that out-I didn’t know it.

Jun 06, 2013 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BaiJiuUSA wrote:
America is far behind the rest of the world in public transportation. This is a ‘must build’. it is a no brainer decision and should continue across the entire United States.

Most of the east coast of China is connected by high speed trains. this type of transportation is simple, cost effective, and energy efficient.

Jun 09, 2013 12:09am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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