California's high-speed rail gets approval for 114-mile stretch

Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:09pm EDT

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Aug 12 (Reuters) - California's high-speed passenger rail project won approval from federal officials at the Surface Transportation Board on Tuesday to construct a 114-mile section from Fresno to Bakersfield.

The line will be the second section of a larger statewide high-speed rail line plan, which runs 500 miles from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin.

The Central Valley stretch will be subject to environmental considerations, noted the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates railroad and transportation matters.

On Tuesday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced it had selected ARCADIS U.S. Inc to oversee a 60-mile section of rail from Fresno to the Tulare and Kern County line.

ARCADIS would be responsible for the design and construction oversight and could receive nearly $72 million for the work over a five-year period, according to the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The total $68 billion high-speed rail project is estimated to be completed by 2029 and will transport passengers across the state in under three hours. The state has already started construction on a 29-mile stretch from Madera to Fresno. (Reporting By Robin Respaut; Editing by Ken Wills)