I am Meg Cederoth, Director of Planning and Sustainability at the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Ask Me Anything!
UPDATE: 1:00pm (PT) – Here I am signing off for the afternoon. I will try to comb through any questions until tomorrow at noon. Thank you everyone, this was fun! Great questions all around and thank you Reddit for hosting!
Hi Reddit! This is Meg Cederoth, and I’m the Director of Planning and Sustainability at the California High-Speed Rail Authority. We’re excited to be hosting our second AMA! Proof it’s me here. Read on for more details and Ask Me Anything!
It’s happening! As of April 2021, here are some major updates right off the bat:
• In 2008, Californians voted to develop a statewide high-speed rail system connecting the State’s major cities.
• Why: An environmentally clean, fast, and safe high-speed rail system will transform how people move around the state, put people to work building the system, spur economic growth and new industries, and help achieve our state’s ambitious environmental goals. The system will improve air quality by shifting people from cars and planes to clean trains running on 100% renewable energy.
• Location: The first phase of the system will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim and a second phase will add extensions to Sacramento and San Diego. In all, 8 of the 10 largest cities in the State will be connected. Map
• Speed: Trains will be capable of reaching speeds up to 220 miles per hour while making the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 3 hours.
• Status: California High-Speed Rail broke ground in 2015 and now has 35 active construction sites spanning 119 miles in the Central Valley between Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. This includes construction of numerous viaducts, overcrossings, undercrossings, and more. With around $8 billion invested and more than 5,500 construction jobs created, the Central Valley will demonstrate the viability of the project and serve as the backbone of the high-speed rail system.
• Statewide: In Northern and Southern California, the Authority is working on getting these parts of the system shovel-ready to extend from the Central Valley to the Bay Area and Los Angeles Basin. Work is advancing on environmental clearance and the “bookend” projects that we have committed funding to in the Los Angeles Basin and the Bay Area. See status here.
• Green: We are the largest Envision Platinum project to date. We have recycled 97% of all the materials from construction, and much more (see Sustainability Report here)
• Education: Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
• Previous jobs: Consultant at WSP USA, Sustainability projects across the US and globally, as well as corporate sustainability initiatives. Worked as Sustainability Manager, later Sustainability Director for the California high-speed rail project. Barista, prep cook, counselor, editor and dog walker feature in my distant past.
• Example Projects: South Capitol Street Corridor (Washington, D.C.), Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (Washington, D.C.), Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Guidelines (City of Chicago), Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (United Arab Emirates), California High-Speed Rail
• Hobbies include: Hiking, yoga, biking, gardening. Have lived in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Morocco, Germany, and the UAE. I speak clunky French, rusty Arabic, and German like a toddler.
You can ask me anything, but I am most knowledgeable about: Sustainable infrastructure; Corporate sustainability; Station Communities and urban planning; Transportation planning; Climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation; and Running the train on renewable energy.
*Disclaimer: Due to anticipated volume questions, we may not be able to answer all your questions. Thanks for your participation! All opinions expressed are my own and not that of my past or current employer.
**This is a conversation in English, but we welcome comments in other languages.