New legislation calls for $32 billion funding to help complete High-Speed Rail

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Congressman Jim Costa announced legislation on Friday calling for additional federal funding to help complete California's High-Speed Rail, along with projects in other parts of the country.

Costa gathered with representatives from the High-Speed Rail Authority at the San Joaquin River Viaduct off Avenue 7 in Madera County on Friday morning.

With work underway in the background, they unveiled the High-Speed Rail Corridor Development Act.

"It is a multiyear and multibillion-dollar investment in transformative transportation all around the country," said Brian Kelley, the CEO of High-Speed Rail Authority.

The legislation would provide $32 billion to fund projects in federally designated high-speed rail corridors, including the route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

"What he is proposing here is the biggest missing component for this project's completion, and that is the funding," said Vice-Chair of HSR Authority Tom Richards.

The announcement comes as criticism of the project continues. The High-Speed Rail has faced ongoing lawsuits and calls to divert the funding to other projects across the state.

Just last week, the Rail Authority increased its overall cost estimate by another $1.3 billion, bringing the total price tag to more than 80 billion.

But officials say they are on track to complete the first segment from Merced to Bakersfield by 2022. Supporters also tout the creation of 3,500 jobs.

Congressman Costa said he is optimistic he can get this legislation passed as part of a larger commitment to infrastructure projects across the country.

"This is one of those kinds of investments we must make to keep our competitive edge around the world," he said.

But like every step in this fast train project, he knows it will take time.
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