California High-Speed Rail is a high-speed rail system currently under construction in the state of California. By the end of Phase 1, the route will connect Los Angeles with San Francisco at speeds up to 220 miles per hour (350 km/h), providing a "one-seat ride" for the trip in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The system is required to operate without a subsidy, and to connect the state's major cities in the Bay Area, Central Valley, and Southern California.
Construction on the initial section from Merced to Bakersfield began in 2015 and is expected to end in 2019, after which it is planned that the Amtrak San Joaquin train will use the HSR tracks for faster conventional rail service. High-speed rail service is expected to begin in 2022 after the rails are extended south to Burbank. Phase 1 is planned to be completed in 2029. In Phase 2 (no timetable as yet), the system will be extended northerly (through the Central Valley to Sacramento) and southerly (through the Inland Empire to San Diego), reaching all the major population centers specified in Proposition 1A (2008). Construction is only fully funded through 2019, although the project is now automatically getting cap-and-trade funding amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
With an anticipated construction and planning cost of $68.4 billion (in year-of-expenditure dollars) for Phase 1, the project is the most expensive public works project in United States history. The project has had to contend with a number of lawsuits seeking to stop it, but thus far they have only delayed it. A lawsuit that succeeds before 2019 is not likely to stop various projects already underway, but might delay or even halt a dedicated HSR service in the state.
The project is managed by CHSRA (the California High-Speed Rail Authority), a state agency run by a board of governors.