High-Speed Rail Continues to Lead California and the Nation in Building a Clean and Green Transportation System


The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) issued its annual Sustainability Report, which details how the Authority is already putting sustainability into action. The report updates the progress made in 2017 and the results of our comprehensive approach to designing, constructing and operating high-speed rail in a sustainable manner. The report highlights accomplishments in each aspect of the Authority’s Sustainability Framework.

"Our goal is to create the greenest infrastructure project in the nation, both in its operations and its construction,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “Sustainability is at the core of our mission and is one of the values that guide our work. Sustainability is integral to our policies and to how we conduct our day-to-day business.”

“As a first mover in benchmarking its sustainability actions and performance, the Authority has demonstrated its commitment to ambitious leadership in helping the State accelerate the transition to a low carbon future,” said Rick Walters, GRESB Director Infrastructure.

This year’s report highlights the Authority’s actions to offset emissions, such as working with Tree Fresno and Cal Fire to launch the Authority’s Urban Forestry Program – elementary and middle-school students planted 200 trees at the West Fresno Middle School this year in the Central Valley. The Authority continues to follow green construction practices, such as requiring contractors to use clean diesel engines, recycling steel and concrete from construction and demolition materials, and diverting construction and demolition waste from landfills. This year’s report also highlights the key roles that California small businesses from disadvantaged communities play in planning, designing and building the high-speed rail system.

Key sustainability accomplishments are presented in the report:

  • Recycled 99 percent of all construction materials, including 100 percent of all concrete and steel, keeping 118,000 tons of waste material out of landfills.
  • Continued use of Tier 4 equipment on our construction sites, reducing nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, and avoiding black carbon, leading to site emissions that are 60 percent lower than the state average for construction.
  • Continued to engage small businesses, with 115 of the 427 small businesses under contract located in disadvantaged communities.
  • Preserved more than 2,500 acres of natural habitat.
  • Continued working with local governments and our federal partners to prepare for future high-speed rail stations by completing station area plans that are consistent with and supportive of local and regional planning efforts required by SB 375 and our Station Area Development Policies. To date, we have executed planning with the cities of Gilroy, Merced, Fresno, San José, Bakersfield, Palmdale and Burbank, and with the Tulare County Association of Governments and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

The Authority relies on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Reporting Guidelines, the world’s leading and most widely adopted sustainability reporting framework, to inform how data is selected and reported. This process reveals environmental, social, and economic impacts that matter most to our stakeholders. For more information, read the full 2017 Sustainability Report or get a quick glimpse with the Sustainability Report Highlights handout.

SOURCE: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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