12 Jun Jonathan Cartu States California high-speed rail project creates more than 4,000…
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has announced that more than 4,000 construction jobs have been created across 119 miles of the high-speed rail project, with more than 73 per cent of the workers dispatched to various construction sites reported living within the Central Valley.
Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority
California’s high-speed rail network is set to connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands. The network will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200mph and will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is working with regional partners to implement a state-wide rail modernisation plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs.
The Authority is partnering with the local trade unions, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board as well as continued work alongside carpenters, electricians, laborers, ironworkers, operating engineers, and many others who are building California’s, and the nation’s, first high-speed rail system.
The Authority and its contractors have worked diligently to continue construction during the coronavirus pandemic and ensure California’s workforce remains employed and contributing to the local economy.
Brian Kelly, CEO of the Authority, said: “We have expanded the work in the Central Valley and tripled the number of workers dispatched to the job sites over the course of the last year. This is the strength of our programme – stable work, stable paycheck, stable families and a more stable future for California.”
Robbie Hunter, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, said: “The 4,000th worker on site building California’s high-speed rail project really is a great milestone for not only the Authority but for the local economies and local workforce. The vast majority of these workers are from counties in the Central Valley. That is thousands of workers and hundreds of apprentices on the 119m-long construction site that are building a critically needed third mode of mass transit that is clean, fast and will relieve congestion on our state’s highways, freeways and airports. This is not only an infrastructure project that is driving our economy, but it is absolutely necessary to meet the needs of the growing population of California while protecting the environment.”
Since the beginning of the high-speed rail project, the Authority and the project’s design-builders have worked to ensure jobs created on the project benefit disadvantaged areas through the execution of a Community Benefits Agreement. The agreement includes a Targeted Worker Program that requires 30 per cent of all project work hours be performed by individuals who come from disadvantaged communities where household income ranges from $32,000 to $40,000 annually.
Out of the 4,000 workers dispatched to the project, 62 reported living in Merced County, 223 reported living in Madera County, 1,969 living in Fresno County, 121 living in Kings County, 395 living in Tulare County, and 572 living in Kern County as of 31 May 2020.
The Authority currently has 119 miles under construction within three construction packages. Design-builder contractors Tutor-Perini/Zachry/Parsons, Dragados-Flatiron/Joint Venture, and California Rail Builders have more than 32 active construction sites with more expected to open in the coming months. This work totals more than $4.8 billion in construction commitments.