NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Passes Key Environmental Milestone in Southern California Region
Los Angeles – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today released the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIR/EIS) for the approximately 80-mile Bakersfield to Palmdale project section of the California high-speed rail system, moving the Authority one step closer to approving its third environmental document in two years. The document will be presented to the Authority’s Board of Directors for approval during a two-day board meeting August 18-19.
If approved, the Bakersfield to Palmdale project section will be the first high-speed rail segment in Southern California to be environmentally cleared. In addition, this milestone moves the project section closer to being “shovel ready” for when preconstruction and construction funding become available.
“This environmental document is a culmination of thoughtful study and collaboration with partner agencies, city and county leaders, community members, and other stakeholders,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “With this effort, California will have 300 of the 500-mile high-speed rail system environmentally cleared, paving the way for future construction progress into Los Angeles County.”
In February 2020, the Authority released the Draft EIR/EIS for public review. The Authority served as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). Earlier this year in February, the Authority released a Revised Draft EIR/Supplemental Draft EIS for public review to expand its analysis of measures to protect biological resources and endangered species candidates. The Authority has since responded to the comments received during the public review periods and these responses are documented in the Final EIR/EIS.
This Final EIR/EIS evaluates four build alternatives from Bakersfield to Palmdale and two design options near the César E. Chávez National Monument (CCNM). The Authority has selected Alternative 2 with the Refined CCNM Design Option as its Preferred Alternative under CEQA and NEPA.
Last fall, the Authority’s Board of Directors approved the final document for the approximately 50-mile project alignment section referred to as the “Central Valley Wye” part of the Merced to Fresno Station. That action, along with the 2018 issuance of the Record of Decision for the final “Locally Generated Alternative,” a 23-mile route between Shafter and Bakersfield in the Central Valley, provided for full environmental clearance for 171 miles of the high-speed rail alignment between Merced and Bakersfield.
The Final EIR/EIS can be found on the Authority’s website, www.hsr.ca.gov. In addition to the website, printed and/or electronic copies of the Final EIR/EIS, as well as the previously published Draft EIR/EIS and Revised Draft EIR/Supplemental Draft EIS, have been placed at the following public libraries and can be viewed during hours the facilities are open.
- Kern County Library, Beale Memorial Branch, 701 Truxtun Avenue
- Kern County Library, Rathbun Branch, 200 W China Grade Loop
- Kern County Library, Baker Branch, 1400 Baker Street
- Bakersfield College, Grace Van Dyke Bird Library, 1801 Panorama Drive
- California State University, Bakersfield, Walter W. Stiern Library, 9001 Stockdale Highway
- Kern County Library, Wilson Branch, 1901 Wilson Road
- Kern County Library, Holloway-Gonzales Branch, 506 E Brundage Lane
- Kern County Library, Northeast Branch, 3725 Columbus Street
- Kern County Library, Southwest Branch, 8301 Ming Avenue
- Antelope Valley College Library, 3041 W Avenue K, County of Los Angeles Public Library, Lancaster Branch, 601 W Lancaster Boulevard
- Kern County Library, Mojave Branch, 15555 O Street
- County of Los Angeles Public Library, Lake Los Angeles Branch, 16921 E Avenue O [#A]
Palmdale City Library, 700 E Palmdale Boulevard
- County of Los Angeles Public Library, Quartz Hill Branch, 5040 W Avenue M 2
- Kern County Library, Wanda Kirk Branch, 3611 Rosamond Boulevard
- Kern County Library, Tehachapi Branch, 212 S Green Street
Printed and electronic copies of the Bakersfield to Palmdale Final EIR/EIS, along with electronic copies of the previously published environmental documents and associated technical reports, are also available for review during business hours at the Authority’s office at 770 L Street, Suite 620 MS-1, Sacramento; and by appointment at the Authority’s Southern California Regional Office at 355 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 2050, Los Angeles. To make an appointment to view the documents, please call (323) 610-2819.
California’s high-speed rail project is under active construction in the Central Valley along 119 miles at 35 different construction sites with an average of 1,100 workers daily. For more on progress visit www.buildhsr.com
Faces of High-Speed Rail
The California High-Speed Rail Authority Speakers Bureau is managed by the Communications Office and provides informational presentations on the High-Speed Rail Program.
(323) 610-2819 (c)
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