SACRAMENTO (AP) – California is moving toward awarding a $1.65 billion contract to design and construct the tracks and system for the first segment of its beleaguered high-speed rail project.

The California High Speed Rail Authority’s board of directors on Tuesday approved releasing a request for qualified bidders for the project. Rail officials hope to issue the contract by next summer.

The contract would cover a 119-mile segment of rail in the Central Valley. The firm it’s awarded to would be responsible for designing and building rail infrastructure including tracks, a signaling system, platforms and the overhead electrification system. It would maintain the tracks for a set period of time, likely 30 years.

A U.S. subsidiary of a German rail company has already been awarded a contract for early operation of the train.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

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