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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration Announces Two California Transportation Projects to Be Expedited

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, as part of his We Can’t Wait initiative, President Obama announced that two nationally and regionally significant surface transportation projects in California will be expedited to put Americans to work building a 21st century infrastructure and providing California with more transportation choices.  These projects will improve local and regional connectivity, providing for the safe and efficient movement of people, goods and services. Early, intensive coordination among agencies is expected to save up to 6 months on project schedules.

As part of a Presidential Executive Order issued in March of this year, the Office of Management and Budget is charged with overseeing a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective, saving time while driving better outcomes for local communities.  The Administration’s efforts to continuously add more transparency, accountability, and certainty into the permitting and review process will enable project developers and private investors to more efficiently modernize our nation’s infrastructure.   Additional expedited infrastructure projects will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Investments in infrastructure are putting people back to work in California by building and modernizing our transportation systems,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is good news for the local economy, and it’s one more sign of President Obama’s commitment to help communities across the country move forward with these critical projects as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

California High Speed Rail – Central Valley Construction
State: California
Coordinating Agency: Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration
Target date for completing Federal permit and review decisions: October 2013

The Fresno to Bakersfield section of the California High Speed Train (HST) System extends approximately 114 miles in California's Central Valley and is a portion of Phase 1 of the HST system.  Stations are planned at Fresno and Bakersfield, and a third Kings/Tulare Regional Station is being considered near Hanford. 

The high-speed train project will support job creation in a region that is currently experiencing some of the nation’s highest unemployment rates. Once operating, projections estimate 4,500 boardings daily in Fresno and 5,100 in Bakersfield, with travel time between Fresno and Bakersfield estimated at 37 minutes.

Early, intensive coordination for project environmental reviews has supported a project schedule that is projected to save up to 6 months, enabling the project to meet funding deadlines and an aggressive construction schedule.

San Francisco Downtown Ferry Terminal
State: California
Coordinating Agency: Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration
Target date for completing Federal permit and review decisions: July 2014

The Downtown San Francisco Ferry Terminal expansion project will improve waterside and landside facilities at the city's busy Ferry Terminal.  The project, managed by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority, will expedite boarding for more than 10,000 daily passengers, provide better access to jobs and entertainment centers downtown, and improve connections to area pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities.  Ferry Terminal improvements will also expand the region's ability to provide vital transportation services in the event of an emergency.

The project is funded in part by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is using new project management tools to engage other Federal agencies in order to improve the efficiency of environmental reviews and to facilitate greater interagency collaboration in the process. These innovations, in addition to leveraging lessons learned from prior projects, are projected to shave several months off the project schedule.