Monday, November 21, 2011

Right of way for DesertXpress approved

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The Bureau of Land Management released the Record of Decision for the DesertXpress Passenger Rail Project in San Bernardino County, Calif. and Clark County, Nev.

The decision authorizes a Right of Way grant to DesertXpress Enterprises, LLC, to construct and operate a high-speed passenger rail line between Victorville, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev. on public lands. The passenger rail line would be a fully grade-separated, dedicated double track passenger-only railroad along a 200-mile corridor that would generally follow the route of Interstate 15. The majority of the right-of-way would fall on previously disturbed lands and within existing energy production and utility corridors.

The Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the BLM and the National Park Service, prepared an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed project on air quality, biological resources, cultural resources, water resources, geological resources and hazards, hazardous materials handling, land use, noise and visual resources. The FRA issued its Record of Decision on July 8, 2011.

Construction of the high-speed rail project could begin as soon as early 2012. The FRA estimates that the project would create more than 45,000 construction-related and 722 permanent operational jobs. Approximately 821 acres of public land are needed for the permanent right-of-way. An additional 95 acres would be needed for temporary construction use. The project also includes about 2,800 acres of private land.

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