The California High-Speed Rail Authority selected an international team led by engineering consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff to manage the state's major transportation initiative, under a $700-million comprehensive rail-delivery partner contract.

The contract, which runs through 2022, has the PB team overseeing program delivery—including permitting, preliminary engineering, alignment, right-of- way acquisition and procurement.

"They really came in with a solid presentation of an integrated team to deliver this program," says Scott Jarvis, the authority's chief engineer.

Other team members include Network Rail Consulting, the international consulting arm of Network Rail, the authority responsible for the U.K.'s railway network; and LeighFisher, a global infrastructure management and P3 consultant.

The authority says that 20 of the 40 firms committed in PB's contract bid are small businesses. Authority set-aside goals are 30% for small businesses,10% for disadvantaged business enterprises and 3% for disabled-veteran business enterprises.

But community protesters, such as Santa Clarita City Council member Tim Ben Boydston, voiced strong complaints to the project at the authority's June 9 board meeting.

"One of the proposed routes of the high-speed rail is going to negatively impact our city," said Boydston. "This [above-ground] technology of high-speed rail is very loud and outdated, and our city has no benefit because there is no station here; it's all downside."

He told board members that if the route passes through Santa Clarita, residents would prefer that trains go through tunnels.

"All alignments are on the table now," says Annie Parker, an authority spokeswoman. "We are studying everything."