Engineering and Surveying for HSR Through Fresno May Begin Soon
The California High Speed Rail Authority is seeking firms for engineering and surveying for the route south of Fresno:
The authority last week issued a request for companies to submit their qualifications for right of way engineering and surveying in anticipation of awarding a contract of up to $1.5 million.
The winning company or companies will set up the proposed route between American Avenue, at the south end of Fresno, and the northwestern outskirts of Bakersfield.
Companies must submit their statements of qualifications by Aug. 15.
The qualification statements are taking the place of a more formal process in which companies submit bids to compete for the contract. After the qualifications are received, a selection committee “will recommend the top ranking contractor(s) for award of the contract(s),” according to information provided by the authority. The agency will work on negotiating a contract with the highest-ranked firm.
Tim Sheehan of the Fresno Bee, who wrote the article that is taken from, points out that the Authority is moving ahead while the outcome of a Kings County lawsuit against the project continues:
Obstacles still abound for the project, however.
The most immediate — and potentially far-reaching — roadblock is a lawsuit filed by Hanford farmer John Tos, homeowner Aaron Fukuda and Kings County. They allege that the authority’s entire plan for the statewide high-speed rail network violates Prop. 1A by offering a project that is substantially different than what voters approved.
A Sacramento County Superior Court judge heard arguments in that case on May 31 and has yet to issue a ruling. Judge Michael Kenny has until the end of August to issue that ruling.
There’s about a month left for Judge Kenny to make his ruling. I still am confident that he will rule for the HSR project, but in theory anything can happen. In the meantime, it makes a lot of sense for the Authority to move ahead with things like requesting bids for engineering and surveying work. The federal stimulus deadline is almost four years away (wow, didn’t 2017 seem like a long way off back in 2009?) and the Authority needs to make sure that money is spent, or they’ll lose it.
The Authority continues to make slow but steady progress on building high speed rail. Soon, I hope, we will be seeing the breaking of ground in the Central Valley. That will be a great day.