NEWS RELEASE: Authority Board Approves Final Portion of High-Speed Rail Line Between Merced and Bakersfield

Sep 10 2020 | Sacramento

Today, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority) Board of Directors unanimously approved the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the approximately 50-mile project alignment section referred to as the “Central Valley Wye” part of the Merced to Fresno Section. The action provides for full environmental clearance for 171 miles of the high-speed rail alignment between Merced and Bakersfield, and the selection of the State Route (SR) 152 (North) to Road 11 Wye alignment. The Board’s actions also mark the second certification of an environmental document in less than a year.

“Today’s approval by the Board represents another major milestone for this project as we have now completed the environmental reviews for the entire 171-mile stretch between Merced and Bakersfield,” said CEO Brian Kelly. “I’d like to thank our local and regional partners for their continued collaboration as we work to implement the project in the interest of California and the Central Valley’s future.”

Wye map

The Authority prepared and released the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS as the lead agency for both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). Responses to public comments received during the CEQA and NEPA review periods are part of this Final Supplemental EIR/EIS. The environmental documents evaluated four alternatives, with the final route for the Central Valley Wye being the SR 152 (North) to Road 11 Wye Alternative.

The next steps under CEQA and NEPA will include the issuance of a Supplemental Record of Decision consistent with NEPA requirements and the filing of a CEQA Notice of Determination.

The Final Supplemental EIR/EIS can be found on the Authority’s website here: https://hsr.ca.gov/programs/environmental/eis_eir/draft_supplemental_merced_fresno.aspx.

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