The nation’s first high-speed rail project is under construction in California’s Central Valley as of the date of this report. This research analyzes the immediate economic impacts, focused on employment and spending generated by California High-Speed Rail (HSR) Construction Package 1 (CP1) in the Central Valley and the rest of California. The authors use a two-pronged approach that combines original economic analysis and modeling with case study vignettes that explore the economic impacts through the lens of a sample of businesses and individuals directly impacted by this phase of HSR development. Overall, the economic analysis suggests that CP1-related spending (forecasted through to 2019) will lead to more than 31,500 additional jobs (both part-time and full-time) by the year 2029. Growth is concentrated in Fresno County, with the number of additional jobs estimated at more than 15,500. The analysis considers job growth across a number of alternative scenarios, converting the raw jobs estimates to full-time equivalent job-years. Under the most conservative HSR spending scenario considered, over the 15-year period evaluated, more than 25,000 full-time equivalent job-years are created. This amount to 14,900 jobs per billion (real) dollars of spending, or a cost of approximately $67,200 per job-year.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Transit and Passenger Rail

MTI Project



High-speed rail, Construction projects, Economic models, Rail transit, Economic analysis