NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Authority Receives Important Federal Approval
Jul 25 2019 | Sacramento
In another step toward continued progress on the nation’s first high-speed rail system, today, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced that the State of California has received approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to assume its federal environmental review responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal environmental laws. Today’s announcement allows the Authority to move forward with the completion of the environmental reviews, as per our federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant agreement, for the entire first phase of the high-speed rail program from San Francisco to the Los Angeles area.
“This is welcome news for the State of California and the High-Speed Rail program,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary, David Kim. “The ability for us to conduct this environmental review and move the project forward will enable momentum and continued progress on this transformative mobility project. We commend the FRA for taking this much-needed action.”
“This action is an important milestone for the high-speed rail program,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “This allows the Authority to complete the environmental review process more efficiently, while still maintaining the same level of review with multiple opportunities for public input and collaboration. We’ve lost valuable time waiting with the FRA’s disengagement, so I am very thankful for this action, and I am hopeful this step is the beginning of a more collaborative and cooperative relationship prospectively. We both gain from a strong partnership.”
With NEPA assignment, the Authority will now approve environmental documents for the high-speed rail program, as the state already has authority to do for highway projects, while continuing to perform its lead agency responsibilities under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). This will allow the Authority to continue construction progress in the Central Valley, and finalize route decisions throughout the state, while at the same time meeting its federal grant commitments, and maintaining critical environmental protections. To learn more about NEPA assignment, please visit: https://hsr.ca.gov/programs/environmental/nepa.aspx
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