- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The board that oversees California’s high-speed rail project has approved a $444.3 million bid to design and build a 22-mile segment of the route in Kern County.

Rail authority staff recommended a consortium of construction and engineering companies called California Rail Builders as the best value bid. The board approved the contract on a 6-0 vote Tuesday.

Officials previously announced the lowest bid for the work was $347.5 million, but said in a presentation Tuesday that the variable price is $444.3 million. That includes provisional costs to relocate utilities.

Construction on the $68 billion project has been behind schedule as the state has struggled to acquire land from reluctant sellers in the Central Valley.

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