Project Section Environmental Documents

PALMDALE TO BURBANK

Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement

Click here for additional information and resources for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section.

Notice of Extension of Comment Period for Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has approved a 30-day extension of the public review period for the Draft Environment Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section. The Draft EIR/EIS for the Palmdale to Burbank Section has been available to the public on the Authority website since September 2, 2022. While a minimum 45-day review period is required for this document, pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Authority had initially allowed for 60 days of public review. The new deadline for receipt of public comment will be December 1, 2022.

The Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) will be available for a public review period pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) beginning September 2, 2022 and ending November 1, 2022 December 1, 2022. The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) will consider all comments received on the Draft EIR/EIS and respond to substantive comments on the Draft EIR/EIS in the Final EIR/EIS.

The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable federal environmental laws for this project are being or have been carried out by the State of California pursuant to 23 U.S. Code 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated July 23, 2019, and executed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the State of California. Under that MOU, the Authority is the project’s lead agency under NEPA. Prior to the July 23, 2019 MOU, the FRA was the NEPA lead agency. The Authority is also the lead agency under CEQA.

A Statewide Program (Tier 1) EIR/EIS was completed in 2005 as the first phase of a tiered environmental review process for the proposed California High-Speed Rail (HSR) System planned to provide a reliable high-speed electric-powered rail system that links the major metropolitan areas of the state and that delivers predictable and consistent travel times. A further objective is to provide an interface with commercial airports, mass transit, and the highway network and to relieve capacity constraints of the existing transportation system as intercity travel demand in California increases, in a manner sensitive to and protective of California’s unique natural resources. A second program-level (Tier 1) EIR/EIS was completed in 2008 focusing on the connection between the Bay Area and Central Valley; the Authority revised this document under CEQA and completed it in 2012. Based on the Program EIR/EISs, the Authority selected preferred corridors and station locations to advance for further study.

The Authority has prepared a project-level (Tier 2) EIR/EIS that further examines the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section. The approximately 31-38 mile Project Section would provide HSR service between Palmdale, near the vicinity of Spruce Court just west of Sierra Highway in the north, and the Burbank Airport Station in the south. This HSR station would provide links with regional and local mass transit services as well as connectivity to airports and the highway networks within Los Angeles County. The Project Section would connect the Northern and Southern portions of the Statewide HSR system.

This Draft EIR/EIS evaluates the impacts and benefits of a No Project Alternative and six Build Alternatives. The Authority’s Preferred Alternative under NEPA, which serves as the proposed project for CEQA, is the SR14A Build Alternative. The Preferred Alternative would follow an alignment that heads southwest from Spruce Court in the city of Palmdale through the Angeles National Forest, including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, and then continues into the San Fernando Valley where it would connect with the approved Burbank Airport HSR station.

Copies of the Draft EIR/EIS

Many of the following documents are available electronically in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software. If you do not have a copy of this free software, you can download it from Adobe at https://get.adobe.com/reader/. If you already have a copy of this software, simply click on the links and it will open up automatically. Note: many of these files are very large and could take up to several minutes to download. Electronic copies of files that are not posted on this website can be accessed by calling (800) 630-1039 or by emailing: palmdale_burbank@hsr.ca.gov.

In addition to posting sections of the Draft EIR/EIS on this website, printed and/or electronic copies of the Draft EIR/EIS, may be available at the following locations, if circumstances allow, during hours the facilities are open (open days/hours may be reduced for compliance with COVID-19 public health and safety directives).

Printed and/or electronic copies of the Draft EIR/EIS and Tier 1 documents are also available for review during business hours at the Authority’s Headquarters at 770 L Street, Suite 620 MS-1, Sacramento, CA and by appointment at the Authority’s Southern California Regional Office at 355 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 2050, Los Angeles, CA. To make an appointment to view the documents at the Southern California Regional Office, please call 800-630-1039. You may also request an electronic copy of Draft EIR/EIS and Tier 1 documents by calling 800-630-1039.

The Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section Final EIR/EIS (2021) and the Burbank to Los Angeles Final EIR/EIS (2022) may be reviewed on the Authority’s website at www.hsr.ca.gov and are also available for review at the Authority’s offices as specified above. These documents are not currently part of the public review and comment process; however, they are available for review and reference.

Authority offices may have reduced open days/hours, as required by COVID-19 public health and safety directives. Please consult www.hsr.ca.gov for up-to-date information.

The Authority does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities.

The purpose of environmental documents is to disclose information to decision makers and the public. While the science and analysis that supports this Draft EIR/EIS are complex, this document is intended for the general public. Every attempt has been made to limit technical terms and the use of acronyms. The terms and acronyms are defined the first time they are used and a list of acronyms and abbreviations is provided in Chapter 15 of the Palmdale to Burbank Draft EIR/EIS.

The Executive Summary, available in English, Spanish, Armenian, and Arabic, provides an overview of the substantive chapters. It includes a table listing the potential environmental impacts for each environmental resource topic and directs the reader to where additional information can be found elsewhere in the document.

Document Organization

The Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS consists of the following:

  • Volume 1—Report
  • Volume 2—Technical Appendices
  • Volume 3—Preliminary Engineering for Project Definition

Educational Materials

Notices

Online Open House and Public Hearing Opportunities

In conjunction with the public review period for the Draft EIR/EIS, the Authority invites the public to participate in an online open house and an online public hearing. The open house meeting will provide the public an overview of the environmental document, opportunity for attendees to review and ask questions about the Draft EIR/EIS, and information on where to access the environmental document and how to participate in the public comment process. The public hearing will provide an opportunity to submit comments on the Draft EIR/EIS.

Online Open House
October 6, 2022
5 – 7:30 p.m.
English Presentation at 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Spanish Presentation at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Visit www.hsr.ca.gov

Online Public Hearing
October 18, 2022
3 – 8 p.m.
Visit www.hsr.ca.gov

Submitting a Comment

On September 2, 2022, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) released a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section of the California High-Speed Rail Project for public review and comment under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable federal environmental laws for this project are being or have been carried out by the State of California pursuant to 23 U.S. Code 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dated July 23, 2019, and executed by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the State of California. Under that MOU, the Authority is the project’s lead agency under NEPA. Prior to the July 23, 2019 MOU, the FRA was the NEPA lead agency. The Authority is also the lead agency under CEQA.

The official comment period begins September 2, 2022 and ends November 1, 2022 December 1, 2022. There are several ways to submit a comment regarding the Draft EIR/EIS for Palmdale to Burbank Project Section including:

  • Online via our web comment forms for the following languages:
  • Email addressed to Palmdale_Burbank@hsr.ca.gov with subject line “Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS Comment”
  • Traditional mail addressed to:
    Attn: Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS Comment
    Southern California Regional Office
    355 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 2050
    Los Angeles, CA 90071
  • Verbal comment on the direct line for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section at (800) 630-1039.
  • Public comment at an online public hearing on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The public hearing location will be in a webcast format. Please visit the Authority website (www.hsr.ca.gov) for details. Spanish interpretation will be available for all meetings. All requests for reasonable accommodations and/or other language services must be made 72 hours prior to each meeting by calling (800) 630-1039. For TTY/TTD assistance, please call the California Relay Service at 711.

Volume 1: Report

Volume 2: Technical Appendices

Volume 3: Alignment Plans

Volume 3 consists of the Preliminary Engineering for Project Definition (PEPD) plans, which include drawings of track, structures, grade separations, utilities, stations, etc. The PEPD plans are provided below.

Technical Reports

The following Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Technical Reports provide technical details and serve as sources for the Draft EIR/EIS analysis. Electronic versions of the technical reports will be available through submitting a request on the Public Records Act portal:

  • Transportation Technical Report
  • Air Quality and Global Climate Change Technical Report
  • Noise and Vibration Technical Report
  • Biological and Aquatic Resources Technical Report
  • Aquatic Resources Delineation Report
  • Wildlife Corridor Assessment Report
  • Hydrology and Water Resources Technical Report
  • Geology, Soils, and Seismicity Technical Report
  • Paleontological Resources Technical Report
  • Hazardous Materials and Wastes Technical Report
  • Community Impact Assessment
  • Visual Impact Assessment
  • Historic Architectural Survey Report
  • Findings of Effects Report
  • Draft Relocation Impact Report

Brief Explanation of Each Chapter

Volume 1 – Report

Chapter 1.0, Introduction and Purpose, Need, and Objectives, explains the Authority’s purpose and need for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section, and provides a history of the planning process.

Chapter 2.0, Alternatives, describes the proposed Palmdale to Burbank six Build Alternatives and the No Project Alternative used for purposes of comparison. It contains illustrations and maps and provides a review of construction activities. This chapter identifies the preferred alternative, which also serves as the proposed project for CEQA.

These first two chapters help the reader understand what is being analyzed in the remainder of the document.

Chapter 3.0, Affected Environment, Environmental Consequences, and Mitigation Measures, is where the reader can find information about the existing transportation, environmental, and social conditions in the area of Palmdale to Burbank. This chapter provides the findings of the analysis of potential environmental impacts, along with methods to reduce these impacts (called mitigation measures).

Chapter 4.0, Section 4(f)/Section 6(f) Evaluation, provides the analysis to support determinations made under Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 and Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act.

Chapter 5.0, Environmental Justice, discusses whether the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Build Alternatives will cause disproportionate impacts on low-income and minority communities. It also identifies mitigation to reduce those impacts where appropriate.

Chapter 6.0, Project Costs and Operations, summarizes the estimated capital and operations and maintenance costs for the Palmdale to Burbank Build Alternatives evaluated in this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 7.0, Other NEPA/CEQA Considerations, summarizes the Palmdale to Burbank Build Alternative’s environmental effects under NEPA, the significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided under CEQA, and the significant irreversible environmental changes that would occur as a result of the project or irretrievable commitments of resources or foreclosure of future options.

Chapter 8.0, Preferred Alternative, describes the Preferred Alternative and the basis for identifying the Preferred Alternative.

Chapter 9.0, Public and Agency Involvement, contains summaries of coordination and outreach activities with agencies and the general public during preparation of this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 10.0, Draft EIR/EIS Distribution, identifies the public agencies, tribes, and organizations that were informed of the availability of, and locations to obtain, this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 11.0, List of Preparers, provides the names and responsibilities of the authors of this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 12.0, References/Sources Used in Document Preparation, cites the references and contacts used in writing this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 13.0, Glossary of Terms, provides a definition of certain terms used in this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 14.0, Index, provides a tool to cross-reference major topics used in this Draft EIR/EIS.

Chapter 15.0, Acronyms and Abbreviations, defines the acronyms and abbreviations used in this Draft EIR/EIS.

Volume 2 – Technical Appendices

Appendices provide additional details on the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section and the six Build Alternatives evaluated in the Draft EIR/EIS. Technical appendices, included in Volume 2, are primarily related to the affected environment and environmental consequences analyses. These appendices are numbered to match their corresponding section in Chapter 3, as well as Chapter 2, of this Draft EIR/EIS (e.g., 3.2-A is the first appendix for Section 3.2, Transportation).

Volume 3 – Alignment Plans

These are detailed design drawings, including trackway, right-of-way, structures, grade separations, utilities, systems, stations, and construction phasing.

Green Practices

PROJECT SECTION ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS

San Francisco to San Jose Project Section

San Jose to Merced Project Section

Merced to Fresno Project Section

Fresno to Bakersfield Project Section

Bakersfield to Palmdale Project Section

Burbank to Los Angeles Project Section

Project Section Details

Select a project section to learn more:

CONTACT

Environmental
(916) 324-1541
info@hsr.ca.gov

The California High-Speed Rail Authority makes every effort to ensure the website and its contents meet mandated ADA requirements as per the California State mandated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA standard. If you are looking for a particular document not located on the California High-Speed Rail Authority website, you may make a request for the document under the Public Records Act through the Public Records Act page. If you have any questions about the website or its contents, please contact the Authority at info@hsr.ca.gov.