The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday issued a request for expressions of interest, the first of many steps the authority would take if it is able to move forward with plans to spend $5.5 billion to build the first segment of a dedicated, high-speed passenger train line linking San Francisco with the Los Angeles area.

The RFEI, according to the authority, is an opportunity for private-sector vendors and contractors to formally weigh in with their views on how the procurement process should proceed.

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