Moving | California Excessive-Velocity Rail Marks Earth Day By Shifting Towards Greener Development

To celebrate Earth Day 2021, California’s high-speed rail authority announced that contractors will only need to use zero-emission vehicles for their project fleets in all future construction contracts.

“Bullet trains will be California’s fastest zero-emission vehicles with the highest capacity,” said Brian Kelly, chief executive officer of the agency. “As rail construction continues to grow, we need to further reduce our emissions. That’s why we’re looking for new ways to make our building practices even more environmentally friendly. “

At the 35 active construction sites that span 119 miles in the Central Valley, the agency requires contractors’ fleets to be newer, more fuel-efficient model years. As ZEV technology improves and more options become available, the agency will now require 100% ZEV for such fleets in future infrastructure construction contracts.

“This project delivers a sustainable future for transportation,” said Margaret Cederoth, director of sustainability and planning for the agency. “Our policy is not to have net greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant criteria in construction. To help us do that, we want to leverage the ZEV market that California is driving.”

This implementation strategy will bring harmful emissions closer to zero and will keep harmful particulates out of the air in communities with poor air quality and high asthma rates, such as many near the Central Valley high-speed rail project.

In addition, the guideline uses the scope of the project to create innovations in off-road construction machinery, where it is more difficult to develop parameters in order not to cause emissions.

The agency already stipulates that all such devices must meet the highest emissions standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Tier 4). This policy has significantly reduced project emissions and removed 172,000 pounds of potential air pollution to date.

This implementation strategy will go further and stipulate that by 2030, as far as possible, 10% of the off-road equipment at the beginning of a contract should be ZEV and not just Tier 4.

In addition, the goal of 100% ZEV for such devices is set by 2035, if this is feasible.

This is the latest step the agency is taking to ensure that California’s high-speed rail line is the greenest infrastructure project in operation and under construction.

The agency has recorded or avoided more than 180,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from planting more than 6,000 trees and other forest projects.

The project also prevented more than 180,000 tons of construction materials from being landfilled, with a 97% recycling rate for construction waste.

In December, the agency received national recognition for its sustainability efforts with the Envision Platinum rating.

The Envision Platinum Rating is the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s highest award and the first time a program of the size and complexity of this project has received such an award.

The agency is responsible for planning, designing and building a 100% renewable high-speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles and Anaheim via the Central Valley.

With the system capable of speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, the journey between San Francisco and Los Angeles takes less than three hours.

Find out about the construction progress at www.buildhsr.comExternal and for more information on sustainability practices that were already carried out during the visit to the agency

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