Project Section Environmental Documents

Merced to Fresno: Central Valley Wye
Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announces the availability of a draft supplemental environmental impact statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) entitled “Merced to Fresno Section: Central Valley Wye Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement” (referred to below as “Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS”). This document was prepared as a supplement to the 2012 Final EIR/EIS for the Merced to Fresno Section of the California High-Speed Rail Project (Merced to Fresno Final EIR/EIS), which was certified/approved by the Authority as California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lead agency and by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) as the NEPA lead agency. The present Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS contains all the content required by CEQA and NEPA, however, the CEQA portion of this document was presented to the public in May and June of 2019.

On July 23, 2019, Governor Newsom executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FRA under the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Program (known as NEPA Assignment), pursuant to the legal authority under 23 U.S.C. section 327. Under NEPA Assignment, the State, acting through the California State Transportation Agency and the Authority, has assumed FRA’s responsibilities under NEPA and other federal environmental laws, as assigned by FRA under the MOU. These responsibilities that California will now carry out, pursuant to 23 U.S.C. section 327 and the MOU, include environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project. The Authority as NEPA lead agency is therefore issuing the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS pursuant to NEPA only at this time for public and agency comments. Content in the Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS that is specific or pertaining to CEQA is for information only at this time.

Following its certification of the Merced to Fresno Final EIR/EIS in May 2012, the Authority approved portions of the "Preferred Alternative" (Hybrid Alternative) outside the wye for the north/south alignment of the high‐speed rail and the Downtown Merced and Downtown Fresno Mariposa Street station locations. The FRA made a similar decision. Both agencies elected to defer a decision on the area known as the “wye connection” - that is, the east-west HSR connection between the San Jose to Merced Section to the west and the north-south Merced to Fresno Section to the east, to allow for additional environmental analysis. This Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS is the next step in the NEPA environmental review process for the Authority to select a wye connection. This document evaluates the impacts and benefits of implementing a wye connection in the geographically limited area of the wye connection between the cities of Merced and Madera and is based on additional project planning and engineering that has occurred over the last several years.

The Preferred Alternative in this Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS, is the State Route (SR) 152 (North) to Road 11 Wye Alternative. This Draft Supplemental EIR/EIS also evaluates the No Project Alternative and four Central Valley Wye alternatives: the SR 152 (North) to Road 13 Wye Alternative, SR 152 (North) to Road 19 Wye Alternative, and Avenue 21 to Road 13 Wye Alternative.

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Project Section Environmental Documents


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