The money comes from unwanted grants to Ohio and Wisconsin, where newly elected Republican governors rejected their HSR funding.
The announcement this week by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood brings total federal funding to $3.5 billion for high-speed rail in the state.
One of California's two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein said: "No other state is as ready, as able, or as determined to develop a high-speed rail system in the near future."
California is one of 12 states that will receive redirected funds. Florida is to receive $300m.
California is required to match the extra funding with an equal number of dollars. Matching funds will come from Proposition 1A, a $9.9bn high-speed rail bond measure that state voters approved in 2008.
The state rail authority estimates the total cost of California’s HSR plan to be about $43bn.