Calif. high-speed rail authority enters planning

Posted at 9:42 AM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 12:42:32-04

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) and the City of Bakersfield announced today that they have entered into a station area planning agreement allowing the City and the Authority to begin plans for a high-speed rail station in Bakersfield.  The agreement allows both parties to study ways to promote economic development, encourage station area development and enhance multimodal connections between the station and the City.

“This will be a very exciting and significant project that will provide an opportunity to not only shape how Bakersfield can best take advantage of a future high-speed rail station, but to also plan for the continuing revitalization of the entire downtown area,” said Bakersfield Community Development Director Douglas McIsaac. “We have already seen some great progress in making downtown Bakersfield an exciting and vibrant area.  This planning effort and the future station will help in bringing about even more progress.”

“A station planning agreement provides a unique opportunity to leverage the type of economic opportunities high-speed rail stations can bring to a region,” said Melissa DuMond, the Authority’s Director of Planning and Integration. “It opens the door for new economic opportunity, smart planning and growth, and provides Bakersfield with a world-class platform for visitors to the region.”  

The agreement represents the next significant milestone in the partnership between the Authority and the City of Bakersfield to bring high-speed rail to the region. This station planning agreement is part of the larger effort to study a locally-generated alignment for high-speed rail through Bakersfield with a potential station located at F Street and Golden State Avenue. Once a final station location is identified and environmentally cleared, station design and construction will follow.

As part of the agreement with the Authority, the City of Bakersfield will receive $750,000 to explore options and seek public input for the design and development of a station.  The Kern Council of Governments is also providing an additional $150,000 to support the station-area planning effort.  

The Authority provides station-area funds to help partner cities initiate planning efforts for high-speed rail stations in their communities. Other partner cities that have entered into similar agreements with the Authority include Fresno, Merced, Gilroy and Palmdale.