Los Angeles - Senator Curren Price, Chair of the Senate Committee Select Committee on Procurement, and Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on High Speed Rail encourage companies and organizations interested in providing services for the construction of California's high-speed train project, to participate in the California High Speed Rail Authority's "Request for Expression of Interest" (RFEI) process. The RFEI process will help shape the development of the Authority's overall procurement process. Today's announcement marks the beginning of the process for defining how businesses can compete for high-speed rail contracts. The High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) is asking companies to submit a Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) which outlines their interest in the project, and describes the kind of work a company is interested in providing. RFEI's will apply to the starter segment, as well as all future phases of the entire San Francisco-to-Anaheim system. Today's announcement follows last week's discussion by the High Speed Rail Authority, for developing the "Small Business" and "Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise" program to encourage small and local business participation in the contracting for jobs with the Authority."We have an unprecedented, unique opportunity for the engine of our state's economy, California businesses, to play a vital part in ushering us into the future of transportation," explained Senator Price. "But we must ensure opportunities for the businesses and communities in this state that need a voice the most. I look forward to leading the charge to ensure that the right decisions are made, the strength of emerging businesses is focused on and we guarantee maximum participation of our communities and constituents," he said. Galgiani stated, "I join those who have expressed a desire to create a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) component, which would include goals for minority- and women- owned business enterprises. We must encourage participation by broadening outreach to diverse markets, while we explore the creation of a DBE component. We need to do everything in our power to ensure participation by small emerging businesses, including women and minority owned businesses, in the largest infrastructure project in California's history." The RFEI asks for participation from firms who are interested in the design, construction, financing, core systems, operations, and maintenance portions of the project. Participating in the RFEI process is not a prerequisite for participating in contracting process. However, responses that the HSRA received from these industries will help shape the development of California's procurement process. The Authority anticipates issuing the request for proposals at the end of this year for California's starter segment, approximately 120 miles through California's Central Valley, which will ultimately serve as a "test track." This test track will give the Federal Railroad Administration the ability to certify that California's system will be capable of running 220 miles per hour. California's system is the only system in the nation proposed to reach true high speeds of 220 miles per hour (mph). The responses for the initial RFEI process are due by March 16, 2011. For more information about the RFEI process or to download the application, please visit the Authority's website at: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/rfei.aspx.