NEWS RELEASE:​ High-Speed Rail Authority Receives $20 Million From Federal Government to Revitalize Historic Fresno Train Depot

June 28, 2023

FRESNO, Calif. In a show of continued partnership, the Federal Railroad Administration and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced today that the Authority has received $20 million from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program for the Fresno High-Speed Rail Station Historic Depot Renovation and Plaza Activation Project.

The project will restore the historic passenger rail depot building in Fresno, near Chinatown and the site of the future high-speed rail station. The project will create a functioning park and plazas as spaces for early site activation efforts. The project will also integrate critical zero-emissions vehicle infrastructure into historically disadvantaged communities.

Groups of people walking and biking towards the restored Fresno depot

         An illustration of the future Historic Depot Plaza.

“The Federal Railroad Administration congratulates the California High-Speed Rail Authority on their latest $20 million RAISE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, building on previous federal investments that will help deliver high-speed rail in America and provide people with an alternative to crowded highways and airports,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell. “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is transforming our country for the better, and it’s going to keep making unprecedented investments to advance the 21st-century rail that Americans need and deserve.”

“This funding is an important federal investment in California’s pioneering high-speed rail project,” Senator Alex Padilla said. “Rebuilding the passenger rail depot in the heart of Fresno will create jobs today, and pave the way for clean, fast transportation that connects the Central Valley and the entire state. The rail depot project not only prepares Fresno for high-speed rail, it will provide solar power and electric vehicle charging infrastructure needed to modernize additional modes of transportation. A future with cleaner air and lower emissions is possible—but only if we keep investing projects like this one.”

“This grant marks another step forward in Downtown Fresno’s revitalization. Not only will the historic Southern Pacific Depot be renovated, but improvements to Authority-owned properties will also provide for restored tree canopies, shade structures and community space including a park. These investments will not only complement the nation’s first high-speed rail station but help support housing and businesses in Chinatown and the downtown core,” said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.

Press conference with construction workers and government officials

Authority Board Chair Tom Richards speaks with local, state and federal officials at a June 28, 2023 press conference.

“This restoration project will allow us to prepare for future high-speed rail service, while at the same time, build public gathering areas in an underused and underinvested area of Fresno,” said Authority Board Chair Tom Richards. “When future riders come visit us, we want them to see a vibrant, family-friendly downtown area even before our first trains stop at the station.”

In addition to building improvements to the historic depot facility, which include accessibility upgrades and seismic reinforcement, amenities will also include:

  • Transit and vehicle electric charging in a resilience hub;
  • Solar power generation capacity;
  • Bicycle and scooter parking;
  • Restored tree canopy and new shade structures;
  • Resilient and improved stormwater management;
  • Park and plaza space for public activities;
  • Lease space opportunities; and
  • Improved fencing and perimeter security.

This work is a critical first step to restore the site for passenger rail service and will provide community benefits prior to initiating high-speed rail passenger service on the Merced to Bakersfield line later this decade. The total project cost is $33.2 million and includes matching funds of $13.2 million from Authority high-speed rail funds. View the project fact sheet here:

The Authority has begun advanced design work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. The high-speed rail project has created more than 11,000 good-paying jobs since the start of construction, the majority of those going to Central Valley residents, and there are more than 30 active construction sites. In addition, the Authority has environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin.

For more on construction, visit:

The following link contains photos and recent videos, animations, press center resources, and latest renderings:

These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

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