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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (TOP 10):

  1. Question: When will the statewide high-speed system be built?
    Answer: The Initial Operating Section (IOS) of high-speed rail, the beginning of Phase 1 of the overall system will connect Merced to the San Fernando Valley gateway to Los Angeles. It will be approximately 300 miles and service will start in 2022.
  2. Question: When will they break ground on the Merced to Fresno section of high-speed rail.
    Answer: The Merced to Fresno section is scheduled to break ground in late 2013.
  3. Question: How will high-speed rail affect agriculture land?
    Answer: Yes there will be impacts to agriculture land like any other major statewide infrastructure project. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has given significant concessions to farmers as a result of a recent lawsuit settlement. The Authority will make up for the loss of farmland for the railroad right of way by purchasing agricultural conservation easements on property of similar quality elsewhere in the region. Those easements would preserve the land from any use other than agriculture. The Authority will also offer direct compensation for landowners affected by the project.
  4. Question: How many jobs will it create?
    Answer: When the Merced to Fresno section breaks ground in 2013, the project will create 20,000 jobs annually for the next five years. According to the U.S. News and World Reports in November 2011, six of the top ten U.S. cities where it’s hardest to find a job are located in the Central Valley. The Authority Board has also adopted a Community Benefits Policy to ensure participation of community-based small businesses and individuals in economically distressed areas in the construction of the system. High-speed rail means tens of thousands of good, family-supporting jobs for California — jobs not just to build the trains and the train line, but also jobs to operate and maintain it. And there’s more — hundreds more jobs will be created for suppliers, restaurants and other businesses along the route. As many as 100,000 construction-related jobs each year that the system is being built. The potential for 450,000 permanent new jobs statewide created by the economic growth high-speed rail will generate over the next 25 years.
  5. Question: Is there enough funding to build the statewide system?
    Answer: Developing the first segment of the Initial Operating Section (IOS) from
    Merced to Bakersfield will cost $6 billion, consisting of $3.3 billion in federal funding and $2.6 billion in Proposition 1A bond proceeds. The remaining portions of the IOS will be funded using state bonds, federal support, and local funds. Cap and Trade funds are also available as needed, upon appropriation, as a backstop against federal and local support to complete the IOS. In order to secure federal funding made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) required that project construction start in the Central Valley. They did so for two primary reasons: (1) developing rail infrastructure in relatively flat, rural areas allows for lower construction costs as well as more opportunity for necessary testing; and (2) by law, ARRA funds must be expended by 2017; a deadline that could not be met if construction were to start in densely-populated urban areas.
  6. Question: What are the benefits of building the system?
    Answer: Economic benefits of high-speed rail are: tens of thousands of good jobs to construct, operate and maintain the system. As many as 100,000 construction related jobs each year that the system is being built. Also, there will be improved movement of people, goods and services as well as congestion relief on freeways and at airports.
    Environmental benefits of high-speed rail are: electric power to the trains can be produced by sustainable and renewable power sources like wind and solar, this system will cut air pollution and smog throughout California. It will improve air quality and he improved energy efficiency high-speed rail uses only one third the energy of airplanes and one-fifth the energy of the family car. The system also reduces greenhouse gas emissions 12 billion pounds less per year.
    Community benefits of high-speed rail are: cheaper, faster and more convenient travel connected to local public transportation and revitalized communities and economic development around new transportation terminals.
  7. Question: Will Merced have a station? If so where will it be located?
    Answer: The High Speed Rail Authority’s consultants have been developing more detailed information about the downtown Merced station. A portion of the proposed California High Speed Rail is slated to be located in Downtown Merced on the Union Pacific railroad tracks (between W. 15th and W. 16th Streets). Should the project come to fruition, a station would be built along the line between G Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
  8. Question: When will I know if the Authority needs to acquire my property for the high-speed rail system and how will they do it?
    Answer: Once a property owner is identified as being in the path of the publicly noticed designated preferred alternative, the Authority may move forward with the appraisal process, the first step in acquiring the required property. The Authority’s appraiser is typically the first person to contact the property owner. If all or a portion of the property is required for the project, a written notice is sent to the property owner inviting him/her to accompany the appraiser on an inspection of the property. The appraisal process typically begins several months before the property is required for construction. The exact timing of the appraisal will be based on the project schedule and needs. Upon completion of the appraisal process, and after approval of the Final EIR/EIS, the Authority’s Right-of-Way Agent assigned to purchase the property will contact the property owner. For further information, please review the booklet, “Your Property, Your High-Speed Rail Project,” online for more detailed information about the appraisal and acquisition processes, or call the Authority at 916-324-1541 to request a copy.
  9. Question: Is it true that the California High-Speed Rail Authority will pay to relocate the businesses affected? If so, how much?
    Answer: Yes, businesses, farm and nonprofit organizations displaced by the high-speed rail project are eligible for relocation advisory and payments. If you are required to move as the result of the Project, a Relocation Agent will contact you. The Relocation Agent will be able to answer your specific questions and provide additional information.
  10. Question: How does the procurement work with the High-Speed Rail Authority?
    Answer: Contact Robert Padilla, Small Business Advocate of the California High-Speed Rail Authority at 916-324-1541 or email at sbprogram@hsr.ca.gov if you are interested in finding out how to secure a contract with the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

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