Regional Newsletters

May 2021 Statewide Newsletter

Statewide Content

Northern California

Southern California


High-Speed Rail Part of the Governor’s Vision for Moving the State Forward

rendering of high-speed rail train on tracks at dusk

On May 14, Governor Newsom shared his $100 billion California Comeback Plan, which lays out the administration’s blueprint to continue the state’s economic recovery. As part of that plan, the Governor proposed a sweeping transportation investment that looks to build on President Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan and federal legislation to reauthorize and increase funding for surface transportation programs. The high-speed rail program is a major component of that investment, and the Governor’s plan allocates $4.2 billion in remaining Proposition 1A funds – already approved by the California voters to get high-speed rail up and running in the Central Valley and final routes identified from the Bay Area to Southern California.

The majority of these funds will be used to complete all 119 miles of construction underway in the Central Valley by December 2023. The high-speed program has already created thousands of good-paying jobs in the Central Valley, an area of the state that has often lagged in terms of jobs and economic opportunities. Since major construction began, more than 5,500 jobs have been created. The majority of these jobs are being filled by workers from the Central Valley, which means they can work and live in the same area and spend their wages on businesses in the community further spurring job growth and new opportunities. Funds from this allocation will also be used for testing trains in the Central Valley by mid-decade, and for service between Merced and Bakersfield by the end of the decade.

Beyond the Valley, these funds will also be used to continue the work that has been ongoing to environmentally clear and make the high-speed rail routes from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin shovel-ready by the end of 2023.


A Conversation with the Northern California Director of Projects

Boris Lipkin (San Jose), Northern California Regional Director for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, on video chat with Northern California Director of Projects Gary Kennerly (Oakland)

Boris Lipkin, Northern California Regional Director for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, chats with our Northern California Director of Projects Gary Kennerley about environmental clearance work in Northern California.

View their conversation at





LaDonna’s Corner: Southern California Environmental Milestones

California High-Speed Rail Authority logo, screenshot of LaDonna DiCamillo, Southern California Regional DirectorIn LaDonna’s Corner, Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo highlights upcoming milestones in the Southern California Region with two project sections – the Bakersfield to Palmdale project section and the Burbank to Los Angeles project section.

The first environmental milestone the Southern California team is working on is the release of the Final Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement, or “EIR/EIS,” for the Bakersfield to Palmdale project section. This environmental study, which will be the first clearance into Los Angeles County, will be out in the next few weeks and study results are anticipated to be presented to the Authority’s Board of Directors for approval in summer 2021.

The second milestone the Southern California team is working on is the release later this year of the Burbank to Los Angeles project section Final EIR/EIS, to be presented to the Board of Directors for their approval later this year.

Visit the Authority’s website at for information on the four project sections in the Southern California region, and to sign up for email updates on any section.

View her video at


Progress Happening Around the State

aerial view of construction at the Wasco viaduct with fields on the sides

On May 19, the Authority released its latest Construction Update showcasing the progress being made on high-speed rail in the Central Valley. The update features the latest projects underway and uses drone footage of many of the structures under construction or near completion. Later that week, Chief Executive Officer Brian Kelly provided the Authority’s Board of Directors with a with a comprehensive overview of construction progress in the Central Valley and next steps.

In addition to this construction progress, CEO Kelly also highlighted several agreements we reached in the Central Valley that will help pave the way to bring high-speed rail into Merced and Bakersfield. He also previewed a future Request for Proposals for advance preliminary design for the four stations in the Central Valley that we anticipate coming back to the Board on later this year.

He also provided a brief look-ahead for the next 12-15 months, which included environmental clearances of the Bakersfield to Palmdale and Burbank to Los Angeles project sections, the first two segments into Los Angeles County. Other major milestones include awarding the Authority’s Track and Systems contract and the commencement of work, complete negotiations with Federal Railroad Administration on grant schedule and to retain our previously allocated federal funding, awarding contracts to advance design work on Merced and Bakersfield extensions, and procurement for trainsets.

To read more about these items, please view the May CEO Report.


2021 Climate Adaptation Plan

flower in sunlightCalifornia High-Speed Rail is an important investment for the State of California for many reasons. It generates job opportunities and economic growth, improves transportation options and mobility around the state, and is critical in helping California reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Thus, it is important for California High-Speed Rail to be built in a way that is resilient and prepared for climate change throughout the life of the system.

Recognizing the need to understand how changing climate could affect the system and how the Authority can prepare for the future, the Sustainability Team of the Authority developed the program’s first Climate Adaptation Plan. The plan summarizes work to date by the Authority to assess changing climate hazards like temperature rise and precipitation change and ways in which the Authority is preparing for those changes through design, operations and maintenance, and program-level strategies. The Climate Adaptation Plan also summarizes key next steps for the agency, which include implementing a Climate Policy and integrating climate risks into the Authority’s risk management process. The plan is expected to be a useful resource for Authority staff who need to understand how climate change may affect the system and decisions they make day-to-day.

The Authority recognizes that as climate will change, so will the best available information needed to assess climate change and adapt. The 2021 Climate Adaptation Plan is expected to be the first of its kind and will be updated as new climate data and information become available, and as the Authority makes progress on the next steps identified to prepare for an uncertain future.

A two-page overview of the Climate Adaptation Plan is available here.


Celebrating Sustainability at High-Speed Rail

three men and two women wearing facemasks and holding shovels by recently planted treesFrom electric cars and planting trees to Reddit Ask me Anything chatter with Director of Planning and Sustainability Meg Cederoth—we celebrated Earth Day all month!

To kick off our festivities, we rolled out our latest video (también en español) discussing how the Authority is contributing to cleaner air at our construction sites. With the Authority requiring all construction vehicles be Tier 4, it’s helping reduce nitrogen oxide and particulate matter by more than 50 percent or greater in some instances. Also, Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) make up 25 percent of our fleet of vehicles used to travel around construction sites. We hope to soon have that number up to 100 percent of our fleet.

As part of our ongoing efforts to go green and offset construction emissions, we partnered with Tree Fresno to plant trees in the Central Valley. Community members, California Volunteers staff and our own Fresno team took time out of their Saturday on April 24 to plant nearly 135 trees as part of a full project of about 360 trees at Green Valley Recycling in Fresno. Over the last four years, Tree Fresno has planted nearly 3,000 trees as part of the Authority’s Urban Forestry Program. See a video of the most recent tree planting in Fresno.

To close off the month, staff worked together to support a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) event with Director of Planning and Sustainability Meg Cederoth.  The 7th most popular website in the U.S., Reddit is a social news platform that hosts AMAs that allow users to engage with experts. The event received more than 180 comments and questions about sustainability, stations, land use and other questions about the high-speed rail project.


Youth Excitement for California High-Speed Rail Reaches National and International Stages

Screen shot of 15 participants during I Will Ride webinar, with I Will Ride California High-Speed Rail logo with train iconThe California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is winding down the Spring semester after a jam-packed season of student outreach. With the relaunch of the I Will Ride program in 2020, the Authority  laid the foundation to reach students in the virtual landscape available in 2021. More than just connecting with students through presentations, the Authority continued to build strategic partnerships with schools and students to expand learning and work opportunities on the project.

Student outreach strategies for a new semester are based on one of the principle pillars of the I Will Ride program; through strategic collaboration with colleges and universities, I Will Ride will engage a diverse student demographic historically underrepresented in transit development. With the collaborative work of staff in all regions, the Authority hosted 13 student presentations, one high-speed rail webinar and continued meaningful partnerships with programs like the Transportation Career Academy Program (TCAP) at LA Metro and the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State. The Authority reached hundreds of students statewide in a variety of grade levels and planted a seed of excitement for a new mode of transportation that they envision in the future of California transit.

The excitement and advocacy of this younger generation was similarly reflected with national coverage on MSNBC. In the segment “Cali Rails Are Gen-Z’s Big Dream,” Senior National Correspondent Chris Jansing went out to Madera, California to tour construction and talk with Authority CEO Brian Kelly about the project.  “Gen Z is very tuned in to long term sustainability from our activities today and understanding our impacts on the climate in general” noted Kelly. “Ultimately, this project will be a lot about this [Gen Z] generation, as they will enjoy it as they move through their lives.” Jansing closed the segment noting President Biden’s desire for a railroad revolution and the popular map that has circulated Twitter that visions a national high-speed rail network in the U.S.

The youth vision for high-speed rail also included the opportunity to build new technology and advance a new workforce in high-speed rail development. The Authority was part of the WTS International conference, Our Future in Transportation, with the session Mentoring and Developing the Next Generation of High-Speed Rail Workforce in the Silver Tsunami sessions. During the session, members of the Authority and a Fresno City College professor, part of the I Will Ride program, led a panel discussion and Q&A session about the importance of mentoring and reaching the student audience. In the panel, they discussed the I Will Ride program and its goals.

As discussed on the panel, there is a lot of work left to do within student outreach and expanding the I Will Ride program. It is important to continue student outreach in classrooms and student-led organizations to expose students to the project statewide. Also, just as important is the continual building of relationships with institutions and businesses to create real and tangible opportunities to work on California high-speed rail or similar transit projects. With a vision of a national high-speed rail network, there is an exciting opportunity with the California High-Speed Rail as the Authority leads the nation to create the first high-speed rail in the United States. The Authority is showing students how it’s done – so they can finish the job.


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Northern California Regional Update

May 2021

From Boris’ Desk: New Deputy Regional Director and Next Steps


New Deputy Regional Director

I am pleased to announce that Morgan Galli has been named as the first Northern California Deputy Regional Director. She will play a leadership role in the region, working with our partners to advance the high-speed rail program through the next set of significant milestones and beyond.

Morgan previously served as the Northern California Regional Stakeholder Manager for over five years, leading the Authority’s outreach efforts throughout the region. She brings nearly 20 years of government relations experience to this role. Morgan holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from San José State University and a master’s degree in Political Science from Whittier College. We are delighted to have her aboard as we continue the work of bringing high-speed rail to Northern California.

Infrastructure Plan Holds Promise for Advancing High-Speed Rail in California

The federal government’s focus on building and restoring our nation’s infrastructure may provide a new opportunity to accelerate development of high-speed rail in California. Last month, the Biden administration announced the American Jobs Plan. The proposal seeks to create millions of jobs while transforming transportation in the United States. California’s high-speed rail project is well-positioned to answer this call.

The connection between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley is one opportunity to meet the administration’s requirements for ambitious projects that offer tangible benefits to regional economies. Connecting major regions in the state can boost economic activity, create jobs, provide better access to housing and empower underserved communities. The American Jobs Plan also calls for sustainable transportation systems, and zero-emission high-speed rail trains, powered by 100% renewable energy, fit the bill.

California is leading the way on high-speed rail in America. Construction is well underway in the Central Valley and environmental clearance for the Northern California project sections is scheduled to be completed in the first half of next year. A new federal partnership could provide the appropriate funding commitments needed to get people moving between Silicon Valley and the Central Valley and advance the project all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Next Steps for Environmental Clearance

We continue to make progress towards completing the environmental review process for both Northern California project sections. Having received public comments on the draft environmental documents last year, our team has been hard at work responding to each of the comments we got, making necessary changes and engaging local communities, policymakers and stakeholders.

On April 23, the Authority issued a limited revision to the previously published San José to Merced document and recirculated it for public review and comment. The recirculated document contains new biological resources analysis, based on recent regulatory actions related to endangered species and new information on other impacts to wildlife along the corridor. These documents are on track to be completed early next year. Subsequently, the Record of Decision can be certified by the Authority’s Board of Directors, which will clear the way for pre-construction activities.

– Boris


A Brief History of Pacheco Pass

Black and white photo of car driving on hillside section of Pacheco Pass Highway with trees on the side of the road

Pacheco Pass Highway, circa 1941 (San José Chamber of Commerce Collection, History San José)

Imagine traveling aboard a safe, comfortable high-speed railcar looking out at a panoramic view of the rural landscape passing by. In the distance, a mountain range rapidly approaches. The train enters a tunnel at the foothills and emerges, minutes later, on the other side of Pacheco Pass.  This is the future for one of California’s most well-known transportation corridors.

From Native American communities to modern-day travelers, Pacheco Pass has long been an important route for people making the trek between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley.

Rising 1,368 feet above sea level, the pass is a prominent feature of the Diablo Range. The Yokut Indians were early inhabitants who settled the region at least 2,500 years ago. Once one of the largest tribes in North America, they trekked across the pass for centuries, using rugged trails to reach the coast to trade with neighboring tribes.

After gold was discovered in California in 1848, an increasing number of people traveled over the pass. A toll road was built in 1857 for wagons. Soon stagecoaches appeared on the route, transporting passengers and mail. The road developed a notorious reputation, fueled by a popular fictional novel[1] and newspaper reports of bandits roaming the region, and came to be known as “Robber’s Pass.”

Francisco Pérez Pacheco was a wealthy landowner who emigrated to the Salinas Valley from Mexico. In 1855 he inherited a property known as Rancho San Luis Gonzaga, which included a portion of the pass. Over time his name stuck, and the corridor came to be known as “Pacheco’s Pass.”

By 1878, Santa Clara and Merced counties recognized the growing importance of the pass and constructed a graded dirt road. The State of California followed in 1923 with the first paved road, Highway 152. The first major upgrades to the highway were completed in 1965. These developments greatly improved the safety and convenience of those who traveled through the corridor.

During the 1970s, however, the pass developed a reputation as a danger zone. Highway 152 became known as “Blood Alley” for the large number of vehicle crashes that occurred each year. Public concern led to a series of improvements starting in 1984 and, over the next three decades, the highway was widened and divided, and a flyover ramp was constructed at the Highway 156 junction.

While no railroad has ever been built over the pass, the Authority is hard at work to make a modern rail crossing of the pass a reality. The historic project is expected to be the first mountain pass constructed for high-speed rail in the United States and will feature some of the longest rail tunnels in North America. High-speed rail via the Pacheco Pass tunnels will one day provide a faster, safer, more convenient alternative to traveling between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Valley.

[1] Rollin Ridge, John. The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta: The Celebrated California Bandit. New York: Penguin Books, 2018.


Northern California Voices Support for High-Speed Rail

NorCal Loves (heart symbol) High-Speed Rail

In March, Chief Executive Officer Brian Kelly presented the Revised Draft 2020 Business Plan to the California Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees and responded to questions from legislators. At the end of each hearing the Legislature offered an opportunity for public testimony, during which nearly 100 callers voiced support for clean, electrified high-speed rail and the path forward outlined in the plan. Northern California constituents expressed strong support. The Final 2020 Business Plan was submitted to the Legislature in April.

Monica Mallon, a recent San José State graduate, advocated for a more connected and sustainable future, “I’ve been supporting high-speed rail since I was in 5th grade and when the ballot measure was passed. And I still support it now as a 23-year-old… I know the other generations love their cars, but young people want a sustainable, electric public transit system that takes us where we need to go, and electrified high-speed rail is a big part of that. So, I really support moving forward with the Business Plan and allocating their remaining funding.”

Prominent Northern Californians also have come out in support of the plan. In a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece, California State Senator Scott Wiener wrote, “This is the time for us to pull together, and look at high-speed rail as what it is — a way to get people around our great state, to help our economy grow, to move toward our climate goals, and toward real inland-coastal equity.”

In a joint letter, San José Mayor Sam Liccardo and San Francisco Mayor London Breed affirmed their support, along with Mayors from Fresno and Merced. “On a larger scale, when high-speed rail becomes a reality in California – whisking people from San Francisco and San José to Los Angeles and San Diego and other large Golden State cities – it will provide proof of concept that this technology can be applied anywhere. That would benefit the climate, take cars off the road and connect our nation as we look to a more prosperous future for all Americans.”

“We appreciate the strong support from our Bay Area community,” added Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Northern Californians have made their voices clear that there’s a strong focus and priority on mobility options that help us achieve a more sustainable future.”


Outreach with Equity and Inclusion

Group of seven adults and one child standing with map on tripod.During the summer of 2019, Cici Vu led walks through tent encampments along the railroad tracks in several Bay Area cities. She spoke with the people living there about high-speed rail development— and listened to their concerns. Her goal was to foster an environment of respect and dignity and to ensure underrepresented people had a say in their community.

Vu is a director focused on environmental justice outreach with Kearns & West, a woman-owned small business specializing in public outreach and public engagement. Founded in 1984 by Anna West, the San Francisco-based company helps clients communicate their vision and create productive connections with stakeholders at the local, state and national levels.

The company was selected by the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) to facilitate environmental impact outreach for the San Francisco to San José and San José to Merced project sections.

The firm’s staff brings diverse communities to the table that historically haven’t had a say in projects that impact their environment. Regular meetings are coordinated with community groups, such as the Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation.

“We like to be friendly, collaborative and collegial in our work,” said Sharif Ebrahim, Managing Principal at Kearns & West. “The heart and soul of Kearns & West is bringing people together to solve difficult public policy challenges by working with stakeholders to create an environment of collaboration, opportunity and respect.”

Through a series of open houses and community events, stakeholders are encouraged to get involved with California high-speed rail. Activities include everything from setting up information tables at a farmers’ market to presentations on project alternatives. They also host working groups to study issues and make recommendations based on their findings. Joey Goldman, a vice president and outreach team lead commented, “It’s a great process for building relationships and communicating what high-speed rail has been working on in a very positive way.”

When the pandemic prompted social distancing, the Kearns & West team quickly pivoted to virtual engagement online. One example is, a digital platform to bring stakeholders together and provide access to information and resources. “We had a series of webinars with multiple rooms that people could travel into or out of depending on what topics were of most interest to them,” Goldman explained. “We have heard from stakeholders that this worked really well for them and the Authority, too. From what we understand, it was identified as a model that has been replicated in other parts of the state.”

Kearns & West enables the Authority to maintain long-term relationships with stakeholders. Talking with ordinary people about how high-speed rail might affect their community— and listening to their concerns leads to more equitable and inclusive outcomes, a better project for everyone.


Talking with Kids about High-Speed Rail

Activity sheets showing landmarks on a map of California for coloring

Young people’s perceptions and knowledge of high-speed rail will have a profound effect on the success of our program. After all, they are the ones who will one day operate the system and ride the trains.

In April, students from Lorin Eden Elementary in Hayward took part in a community event organized by the Mineta Transportation Institute. Rebecca Fleischer and Rachel Bickert from the Northern California Outreach team presented information and answered questions about building a high-speed rail system. The Zoom meeting included approximately 100 participants from kindergarten through third grade.

“Miss Rachel” and “Miss Rebecca” did an excellent job fielding some great questions. “If you were to add solar panels, would it go faster?” “How are you going to dig the tunnels in the mountains?” After explaining how renewable energy works and what boring machines do, the team was stumped with this question: “How does the train get that much speed?”

Building a better future for California relies on engagement with stakeholders. Young people provide a unique perspective that can guide and energize our work. A member of the team who attended the event summed it up best, “This is the wiggliest Zoom call I’ve ever been on.”

Get creative and colorful with HSR activity sheets. To download them, please visit Share your inspiration by posting to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tagging us – we’d love to see your creativity!


Southern California Regional Update

May 2021


Southern California Region Welcomes Beverly Kenworthy as Deputy Regional Director


photo of Beverly Kenworthy, Southern California Deputy Regional DirectorThe Southern California Regional team welcomes Beverly Kenworthy to the team as Southern California Deputy Regional Director. She will play a leadership role in the region, working with our partners to advance the high-speed rail program through the next set of significant milestones and beyond.

LaDonna DiCamillo, Southern California Regional Director says, “We welcome Beverly to the Southern California team. She brings a unique background in planning, public policy and understanding of the CEQA process that will enhance our efforts in the region from Bakersfield to Anaheim.”

Beverly previously served as Vice President, Local Public Affairs for the California Apartment Association (CAA) where she managed legislative advocacy and political action programs. Before joining CAA, she was director of public policy with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Senior Planning Deputy for former Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she holds a master’s degree in public policy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American literature.

As the Southern California Deputy Regional Director Beverly will support the Southern California Regional Director in conducting the activities required to support the implementation of the Authority’s high-speed rail project consistent with statewide strategies and objectives. The Deputy Regional Director will also provide leadership and management to the Authority consultants to develop and implement region-based programs that articulate the role of the high-speed rail project in the community and ensure timely delivery of high-quality work product related to these efforts.


Carol Singleton Joins Southern California as Media and Outreach Manager

headshot of Carol Singleton, Media and Outreach ManagerCarol Singleton joins the Southern California communications team this June as the Media and Outreach Manager. Carol was in the U.S. Army before starting a career as a high school English and Journalism teacher in California’s Central Valley, and she brings a wealth of experience in state government.

After 10 years in the classroom, Carol joined the Auburn Journal and spent five years as a newspaper editor prior to the media industry’s digital evolution. In 2003, she began her career as an information officer for the State of California working at several agencies including the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, where she managed various statewide education and outreach campaigns. Carol eventually moved into a supervisory position at the Department of Education, where she oversaw the publications office. In 2018, she made the move to Southern California to be closer to her children and took a position running a military history museum, Heroes Hall, on the grounds of the Orange County Fair & Event Center. She is happy to be joining the Southern California office of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and looks forward to supporting the important mission of bringing high-speed rail to California.


Future Mobility Leaders Hear About High-Speed Rail

LaDonna DiCamillo with LA Chapter Coro Fellows in zoom meeting

One of the longest running leadership development programs in the nation is Coro, whose mission is to strengthen the democratic process by preparing individuals for effective and ethical leadership. Coro Fellow James Crisafulli from the Los Angeles Chapter, in the 63rd class of Coro Fellows in Public Affairs, reached out to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) requesting an update on the high-speed rail project for his cohort.

Authority Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo presented a virtual presentation and update on the high-speed rail project to the Coro Fellows on March 19.

The Los Angeles Chapter cohort interviewed transportation leaders toward the goal of producing a 5 to 10 year future recommendation about public transportation in the Los Angeles area. The recommendation for their Transportation Focus Week would later be shared with various stakeholders.

DiCamillo’s presentation covered the statewide project and developments in Southern California project sections, followed by a question and answer period with the enthusiastic group. Coro Fellows, several from the Los Angeles area, shared their questions about the future of mobility and the high-speed rail program. Topics about ridership, project progress, public perception of the overall project and environmental progress would be rolled into the cohort’s pitch decks and a transportation-focused video.

DiCamillo was one of several Southern California transportation leaders the cohort interviewed, and cohort leader Jim Crisafulli commented, “We learned a lot and met so many amazing people in the process.”

Coro Fellowship, founded in 1942 to train young veterans in democratic leadership, has generated more than 10,000 graduates of Coro programs that have become leaders in their communities, government and organizations over the decades.

DiCamillo enjoyed spending time with the Coro Fellows.

“It’s rewarding to talk about high-speed rail and engage with bright individuals who may one day lead the transportation future of this country,” she said.

To learn more about the Los Angeles Chapter of Coro Fellowship visit


Brightline West Moving Fast on High-Speed Rail to Las Vegas

Rendering of Brightline high-speed train on train tracks

As Brightline West moves fast on high-speed rail to Las Vegas, there is strong interest in creating a major connection between California high-speed rail and Brightline West service to Las Vegas in Palmdale. The two systems would generate significant benefits, including higher ridership and the possibility of bringing high-speed rail benefits to Southern California sooner.

Brightline West has completed environmental review of a high-speed rail line between Victorville, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, and entered into an agreement with the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and Caltrans to use existing highway right-of-way along I-15.

In January 2019, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) joined CalSTA and Caltrans to collaborate with Brightline West, through a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement outlines the Authority’s intent to work together, share information and explore opportunities for joint procurements and interoperability on both systems.

According to Brightline West, the company anticipates running trains every 45 minutes and expects to attract over 11 million one-way trips upon stabilization, almost a quarter of the market share of the total travel market between Southern California and Las Vegas.

The project has advanced and made tremendous progress to put a shovel in the ground as soon as possible. From the time of groundbreaking, Brightline West expects it will take about three years to complete their system between Victor Valley and Las Vegas.

“We look forward to bringing a faster, greener, and more efficient way to travel between Southern California and Las Vegas,” said Sarah Watterson, President of Brightline West. “Being able to connect passengers with other transit systems, such as California high-speed rail, will improve connectivity for millions of people and provide an alternate form of travel with benefits for passengers, our environment and the economy.”

Brightline West trains will run primarily in the median of I-15 through California, in a 130-mile dedicated rail corridor, from the Brightline West station in Victor Valley to the Nevada state line. In Nevada, 34 miles of track will run along the I-15 right-of-way, to the Brightline West station on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.

Brightline West is looking to advance two extensions, one through the High Desert Corridor from Victor Valley to Palmdale, where California high-speed rail and Brightline West high-speed rail systems could connect at the Palmdale station. The second, through Rancho Cucamonga, about 37 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. There, the station is planned to be adjacent to the existing Metrolink station for the Los Angeles Basin segment and will run along the San Bernardino Metrolink corridor, between the Rancho Cucamonga station and Los Angeles Union Station. 

Authority Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo expressed optimism about the developments. “We’re excited about the opportunity to connect with another high-speed rail system to provide electrified high-speed rail options for residents and visitors to California.”

Visit for project updates and construction news.


Translator Tackles Challenges in Public Meetings

Woman sitting at desk writing on tabletIn live public meetings, an interpreter, providing services for the California High-Speed Rail Authority is hard to miss. They are the person standing near the speaker wearing headsets and talking quietly into a microphone. Diana Orozco, a translator with Lazar Translating & Interpreting, brings her expertise to the Southern California public meetings about high-speed rail. During the last year, she has experienced new interpreting challenges because COVID-19 has pushed public meetings online-related transition to online public meetings. 

In a virtual environment, as interpreters become just another box on the computer screen, speakers speak quickly and tend to forget the translator is present. As the meeting progresses the interpreter can’t stop the meeting to ask a question or to ask someone to slow down.  A participant can also mistakenly mute the interpreter. Diana notes, “We have to step up our game to keep up with the speaker to provide the seamless interpreting service that everybody expects. This keeps the job interesting and it’s always satisfying to rise to the occasion!”

Diana’s services begin well before the public meeting starts. She asks for written material and any slide presentations to familiarize herself ahead of time. Prior to the virtual meeting, she checks her internet connection and conducts a thorough equipment check. Her work continues after the meeting when she reviews audio recordings to identify any corrections. Diana notes, “With experience, you certainly get a sense of what a meeting might be like and what terms will be used.  When I’ve worked with a client for a while, I get to know the speakers, the issues at hand and even some of the community members.”

Her first interpreting assignment in 1992 was so enjoyable Diana decided it would be her career.  She studied interpreting and translating in Mexico City and later attended UCLA’s Extension Court Interpreter Program and the Southern California School of Interpreting- Court Interpreter Program.

Despite the challenges in the last year, Diana enjoys her work, “I genuinely love the feeling of simultaneous interpreting when it feels second-nature – it is wonderfully satisfying and makes me so proud that my decades of hard work, study and training are so thoroughly a part of me.” She adds, “I really enjoy working with the Authority – prior to the meetings we do the Dry Run Test and I go into the meeting with complete confidence that I have the tools I need to do an excellent job!’

To date, more than 600 small businesses have been employed by the California high-speed rail project. For more on the small business program, visit

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