Burbank-to-L.A. high-speed rail route reaches critical milestone

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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CHSRA is pursuing first major award of new federal infrastructure funds.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors have unanimously approved the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the approximately 14-mile Burbank-to-Los Angeles project section.

This action clears the way for full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance of nearly 300 miles of the high-speed rail project’s 500-mile Phase 1 alignment from San Francisco-to-Los Angeles/Anaheim.

The Board’s actions mark the second certification of an environmental document in the southern California region and the first in the Los Angeles Basin.

“[The] approval represents a historic milestone and brings us closer to providing the first high-speed rail system in the United States,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “We appreciate the continued support and collaboration with local and regional agencies and stakeholders as we work together to improve transportation in California.”

The Board’s certification of the Burbank-to-Los Angeles Final EIR/EIS is a critical milestone that moves the project section closer to being “shovel ready” as funding becomes available. The section will connect the high-speed rail system from a new Hollywood Burbank Airport Station to the existing Los Angeles Union Station, providing an additional link between Downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

The alignment for this project section will primarily use existing railroad right-of-way adjacent to the Los Angeles River through the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and Los Angeles. High-speed rail service along this route will improve long-term air quality, decrease rail congestion and increase mobility.

The Board certification of the final environmental document and approval of the Burbank-to-Los Angeles project section reaffirms the Authority’s commitment to complete the environmental process for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by 2023.

The Board will consider the final environmental documents for the San Jose-to-Merced and San Francisco-to-San Jose project sections in April and June of this year.

Next steps under CEQA and NEPA will include filing a CEQA Notice of Determination and issuing a Record of Decision consistent with NEPA requirements. The Final EIR/EIS can be found on the Authority’s website here:  https://hsr.ca.gov/programs/environmental-planning/project-section-environmental-documents-tier-2/burbank-to-los-angeles-project-section-draft-environmental-impact-report-environmental-impact-statement/

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