Project Section Environmental Documents

Due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, the San Jose to Merced Draft EIR/EIS Open Houses have been moved to the following online platform available through June 8:

San Jose to Merced Project Section
Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the San Jose to Merced Project Section of the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) Project on April 24, 2020. The Draft EIR/EIS has been prepared and is being made available pursuant to both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The Draft EIR/EIS was originally made available for a minimum 45-day public review beginning on April 24, 2020 and ending on June 8, 2020, pursuant to CEQA and NEPA. The Authority has decided to extend the comment period so that it will now end on June 23, 2020, in response to agency and stakeholder requests in consideration of limitations caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The comment period is now April 24, 2020, to and including June 23, 2020.

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 federal lead agency.

A Statewide Program (Tier 1) EIR/EIS was completed in November 2005 as the first phase of a tiered environmental review process for the proposed California 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 (Tier 1) EIR/EIS was completed in 2008 that focused on the connection between the Bay Area and Central Valley. The Authority revised this document under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), completing 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 to further examine the San Jose to Merced Project Section. The approximately 145-mile San Jose to Merced Project Section would provide HSR service between San Jose Diridon Station in downtown San Jose and a station in downtown Merced, with a Gilroy station either in downtown Gilroy or east of Gilroy. The Project Section would allow trains in the San Francisco Bay Area to transition smoothly via the Central Valley Wye to and from the Central Valley portion of the HSR system running north to Merced and south to Fresno and Southern California. The Project Section comprises three project extents:

The extent of the Project Section between Carlucci Road and Merced has been analyzed in the Merced to Fresno Section Final EIR/EIS and the Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS. The Authority has prepared this Draft EIR/EIS at the project level (Tier 2) to examine the extent of the Project Section from Scott Boulevard, just north of San Jose Diridon Station, to Carlucci Road in Merced County. This is referred to as the San Jose to Central Valley Wye Project Extent (project or project extent). The project extent would pass through Santa Clara, San Benito, and Merced Counties and the cities of Santa Clara, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and Los Banos.

The approximately 90-mile extent of the 145-mile-long Project Section comprises mostly dedicated HSR system infrastructure, HSR station locations at San Jose Diridon and Gilroy, a maintenance of way facility (MOWF) either south or southeast of Gilroy, and a maintenance of way siding (MOWS) west of Turner Island Road in the Central Valley. HSR stations at San Jose Diridon and Gilroy provide links with regional and local mass transit services as well as connectivity to the Santa Clara County and Central Valley highway network.

This Draft EIR/EIS evaluates the impacts and benefits of a no project Alternative and four end-to-end alternatives (Alternatives 1 to 4), including stations. The Authority’s Preferred Alternative under NEPA, which also serves as the proposed project for CEQA, is Alternative 4, which includes two stations (San Jose Diridon and Downtown Gilroy), MOWF, MOWS, two tunnels, and traction power facilities.

Photos of Green Practices

Project Section Environmental Documents

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


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