California and federal officials signed off Sunday on a deal for $86.4 million to begin construction in the Valley on the state's high-speed train system.
The federal stimulus money is part of $300 million that was diverted to the central San Joaquin Valley in May after Florida rejected its share of high-speed rail funds.
The money will be combined with about $15 million in matching funds that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is putting up from Proposition 1A, a 2008 high-speed rail bond.
So far, the Federal Railroad Administration has pledged almost $3.5 billion to California's high-speed rail project. The addition of Prop. 1A money brings to about $6.3 billion the amount that the state has available to start construction in late 2012.
The federal money comes with strings that require it to be spent on planning and construction in the central San Joaquin Valley -- a stretch from Merced to Bakersfield that officials say will be the testing ground for trains capable of traveling at up to 220 mph.
The high-speed rail authority will release draft environmental reports this week for its Merced-to-Fresno and Fresno-to-Bakersfield sections.