April 2022 I Will Ride Update
California high-speed rail is a statewide project – and we saw this firsthand as our Board of Directors took significant action pertaining to every region along our alignment at a two-day board meeting that wrapped up yesterday. Below you’ll find a summary of these major actions with links to our press releases, social media and media coverage, please do feel free to share among your contacts and social media platforms. We also celebrated Earth Week this month with lots of resources that you can bring into the classroom.
Board of Directors Approves Northern California Section Advancement
At this month’s meeting, the Authority’s Board of Directors approved environmental documents for the San Jose to Merced project section. The Board heard a video message from San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo noting his support and the tremendous stakeholder engagement and area analysis conducted over this environmental process. They also heard from Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto, who called in to voice his support for the critical link that high-speed rail will offer his city and the Central Valley.
This project section includes the largest tunneling section in the entire statewide system with 13.5 miles running through the Pacheco pass. When high-speed rail is operational, a trip from San Jose to Merced will be reduced to 68 minutes. The San Jose to Merced project section will provide a critical rail link between Silicon Valley and the Central Valley. The project section runs from the city of Santa Clara, through San Jose at Diridon Station to Gilroy, across the Pacheco Pass, and including the Central Valley Wye extending north to Merced and south to Fresno.
Board Approves Authority Funding to Improve LA Union Station
Moving towards Southern California action items, the Board of Directors approved a multi-million-dollar project management and funding agreement between Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LA Metro) and the Authority to modernize the historic LA Union Station (LAUS) through the Link Union Station (Link US) project. These funds will support LAUS upgrades such as converting LAUS from a rail stub-in to a run-through station, reducing idling times from 45 minutes to about 5 minutes as passengers on-board and off-board trains.
Board Approves to Begin Process with Central Valley Station Request for Proposals
For the Central Valley, the Board also approved beginning the process for design and construction of stations in Merced, Fresno, Kings/Tulare, and Bakersfield. The Authority will move forward by hosting a pre-bid conference that engages interested companies and small business through our formal procurement process. Advancing design on these stations is key to advancing electrified high-speed rail service by the end of the decade.
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Internships and Fellowships
California High-Speed Rail Authority (Sacramento) – Student Assistant
Under close supervision of the Information Officer II, Public Records Administrator, in a learning capacity, the Student Assistant will assist with the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) comprehensive media, public records and communications programs. In addition to assisting with research and technical work related to departmental responses to records requests received pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA), the Student Assistant will also assist with the development of informational materials for dissemination to the media, stakeholders and public regarding the activities and objectives of the California high-speed rail program.
Learn More and Apply:
Dragados USA (Selma) – Field Engineer Summer Intern
This role will be responsible for assisting the Project Manager, Superintendent, Project Engineer(s), and all other construction staff in various areas of the project. Civil Engineering Intern will have the opportunity to apply education to a professional setting, while gaining valuable experience and skills. In this role, the Intern will learn and apply our processes, and understand industry best practices and trends. Specific areas may include tracking and assistance with RFI’s; processing change orders; general project layout assistance relating to engineering plans and specs; and assisting with the project close out process.
Flatiron (Fresno) – Field Engineer Summer Intern
Flatiron’s Intern Program provides challenging and rewarding work opportunities for college students majoring in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Construction Management. Join us today at the California High Speed Rail project. As an Intern, you will be given the opportunity to apply your academic training and skills in a real-world setting at any number of project locations. In addition, you will assist the project manager, project engineer, and the rest of the on-site construction staff in the application of principles, methods, and techniques of engineering technology by performing any combination of the following duties at a project job site.
Learn More and Apply: https://careers-flatironcorp.icims.com/jobs/3051/field-engineer–summer-intern/job?hub=8
California Transportation Foundation
Caltrans, in collaboration with the California Transportation Foundation provides students interested in a career in transportation some of the most notable scholarships in California. Take a look at this year’s scholarships and make sure to apply before the deadline!
Learn More and Apply: https://dot.ca.gov/programs/human-resources/students-volunteers/scholarships
According to the APTA website, “In furthering our mission to increase and retain the number of individuals choosing the transit field as a career, the APTF will award a minimum of twenty-five scholarships, ranging from $6,000 to $10,000 to college students or transit professionals who are interested in pursuing or advancing in a career in the public transportation industry. Awards cover the academic year, beginning in the fall 2022 semester, and assist with tuition costs or other educational expenses.”
Applications are due by June 20th.
Ray Diversity Fellowship
Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will, come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy, and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, be less than one (1) year out of college and have a Bachelor’s Degree by September 2022 (they are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time), have not had a full-time job in conservation or clean energy and have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship
Learn More and Apply: https://rayfellowship.org/apply
WTS-LA Scholarship Program
According to WTS LA, “WTS-LA is a leader in supporting and mentoring the next generation of transportation professionals in Southern California. For more than three decades, we have awarded scholarships to deserving women entering the transportation field. Over the past decade, our chapter has awarded over 100 scholarships worth over half a million dollars through the generosity of our members and donors.
In 2021, WTS-LA awarded $100,000 in competitive academic scholarships to women in high school, community college, undergraduate, and graduate programs in transportation-related fields. We hope to distribute $100,000 again in 2022!”
Learn More and Apply: https://www.wtsinternational.org/chapters/los-angeles/scholarships
Majority of California Voters Want High-Speed Rail
Earlier this month, a poll was released by UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. We’re thrilled to share that that those surveyed say they support California High-Speed Rail by a five-to-three margin 56% to 35%. Some detailed results of the poll include:
- By a five-to-three margin, (56% to 35%) voters favor the state continuing to build the high-speed rail project even with operations extending only from Bakersfield to Merced in the Central Valley by the year 2030 and to the Bay Area by the year 2033 as is currently planned.
- Nearly three in four Democrats (73%) backing the project compared to just 25% support among the state’s Republicans.
- 54% of those registered No Party Preference support the project.
Of the voters that were surveyed, a significant supporter group were those in the 18-29 and 30-39 age demographic, both resulting in 65% in favor of the project. The 18-29 group had a 21% oppose rate and 14% with no opinion, highlighting the value of the high-speed rail project for the younger demographic.
According to the Institute of Governmental Studies, “The Berkeley IGS Poll is a periodic survey of California public opinion on important matters of politics, public policy, and public issues. The poll, which is disseminated widely, seeks to provide a broad measure of contemporary public opinion, and to generate data for subsequent scholarly analysis.”
High-Speed Rail in Philadelphia – APTA High-Speed Rail Conference
Authority CEO Brian Kelly was featured as a speaker at the American Public Transit Association’s annual High-Speed Rail Conference in Philadelphia. As part of a panel, he discussed topics relating to project delivery in major intercity rail projects. The conference brought together private operators, transit agency representatives, and federal partners to discuss high-speed rail around the country.In speaking at the conference, CEO Kelly was joined Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Amit Bose, Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria I. Fernandez Passenger, Director for the International Union of Railways Marc Guigon, and Rail Passengers Association President and CEO Jim Mathews.
While there, CEO Kelly got the opportunity to tour a new Avelia Liberty train car that will soon be used on Amtrak’s Acela service on the Northeast Corridor.
Joining Hundreds of Students at STEM Engineering Competition at UCLA
On April 23, the Authority supported the MESA LA Metro Regional STEM design competition at UCLA. Competing schools included UCLA, CSU Long Beach, USC, and Cal State LA. There was over 175 in-person attendees and around 150 virtual students in attendance.
The Authority was a proud sponsor for this event and staff joined the event with an outreach booth. MESA, a federal college prep program for low income and minority students, supports students throughout their educational pathway starting in high school, to community college and university, by providing early interest in STEM. According to MESA:
- 24,000 – Number of overall MESA students in California
- 74% of MESA’s student population is from historically underrepresented ethnic groups
- 45% – Female students in college prep segment
- 73% – Underrepresented students in community college segment
- 79% – Underrepresented students in university segment
- MESA students are more likely to be admitted to a UC (80% vs 67% for California students overall)
Central Valley Stations, Northern California Environmental Documents, LA Union Station Link US – Board of Directors Statewide Agenda
On April 27 and 28 the High-Speed Rail Authority had their first in-person Board of Directors meeting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Authority Board of Directors took up major agenda items, touching on projects statewide. The meeting included adoption of the 2022 Business Plan, release of a Request for Qualifications for Design Services for the Central Valley Stations, approval of the Project Management and Funding Agreement for Los Angeles Union Station, and adoption of the Final San Jose to Merced project section environmental documents.
View this board meeting up on our YouTube page.
Earth Day 2022
Authority Launches Carbon Footprint Calculator
In honor of Earth Day, the Authority released an interactive carbon footprint calculator online to show the environmental benefits of the nation’s first high-speed rail project. Website visitors can use the calculator to see their potential carbon emissions savings from traveling be electrified high-speed rail compared to by car and plan on four roundtrips along the planned high-speed rail system:
- San Francisco to Los Angeles
- San Francisco to Anaheim
- Merced to Bakersfield
- San José to Burbank
- San Francisco to Bakersfield
The savings of climate change-inducing greenhouse gas emissions for each roundtrip are converted into tangible equivalents, like gallons of gas and pounds of coal saved.
This new online tool highlights the Authority’s longstanding commitment to sustainability. In construction, the Authority is committed to using sustainable practices such as recycling, clean vehicles and cleaner materials, to deliver the system
Making a Resilient High-Speed Rail System
Climate change and extreme weather are realities that California will continue to face for many years to come. The Authority has a talented group of staff working to prepare a resilient and adaptable system that can withstand foreseeable impacts of the climate crisis. On this video, Climate Analysts Annika discusses the Authority’s latest Climate Adaptation Plan.
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