NEWS RELEASE: High-Speed Rail Authority Accepts Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity, Social Change

October 27, 2023

OAKLAND, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has received the American Planning Association’s California – Northern Section’s 2023 Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff at the association’s Awards Gala.

“This work reflects a multi-year process of building relationships with the communities that the high-speed rail system travels through, with an emphasis on environmental justice and partnership,” said Northern California Regional Director Boris Lipkin. “We’re honored that the American Planning Association recognizes those efforts as a best practice, and we look forward to continuing these relationships as we bring high-speed rail to Northern California.”

Group of people with an award

Left to Right: Becca Tabor, Audrey Van, Boris Lipkin, Morgan Galli, Rich Walter, Jean-Paul Torres


Davidoff is remembered as an urban planner who pioneered inclusionary zoning. The Authority is committed to delivering the high-speed rail system to all Californians and achieving its mission in a way that reflects the Authority’s highest values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sustainability. The award recognizes that commitment through the Authority’s San Jose to Merced Project Section, Environmental Justice Community Improvement Planning and Engagement Process.

In planning for the project’s segment between San Jose and Merced, that was environmentally cleared in spring 2022, the Authority collaborated with environmental justice communities to identify improvements that will help offset project effects. Engagement for the project included over 200 different events, including 58 meetings focused on planning for community enhancements. The collaborative planning approach resulted in the identification of 25 community improvements across the eight affected communities.

The enhancements include park and street safety improvements, school/community recreational facilities, supporting school bus routing, pedestrian/bike connections and overpasses, school retrofits, insulation to address noise impacts, and reestablishing a library focused on civil rights at an African American community center.

Since the start of construction, the Authority has created more than 11,000 construction jobs, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley.

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are more than 25 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the Authority having 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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