A Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIR/EIS) for the California High-Speed Rail Authority's (CHSRA) Fresno to Bakersfield section of the project is now available.
The Final EIR/EIS represents a comprehensive, project-level review of the section that runs approximately 114 miles from downtown Fresno to downtown Bakersfield with proposed stations in the Kings-Tulare County region and Bakersfield to go with a Fresno station location approved in 2012.
The Final EIR/EIS identifies the preferred alternative as parts of the BNSF, the Corcoran Bypass alternative, the Allensworth Bypass alternative and the Bakersfield Hybrid alternative. Proposed stations are identified as the Downtown Bakersfield station on Truxtun Avenue and the East of Hanford/west of Visalia station option located near State Route 198.
CHSRA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have prepared the Final EIR/EIS, which includes responses to comments received through the Draft EIR/EIS (released August 2011) and the Revised Draft EIR/EIS (released July 2012) review process. The Final EIR/EIS considers, describes and summarizes the potential environmental impacts of the proposed high-speed rail between Fresno and Bakersfield. The Final EIR/EIS also identifies mitigation measures, design practices and further measures to guide the system’s development and to avoid, where possible, or minimize potential adverse environmental impacts.
“The release of this document represents the culmination of a multi-year effort that included extensive environmental review, preliminary engineering and several opportunities for members of the communities along the alignment to participate in the process by providing feedback, public comments and frequent interaction with the project team,” said CHSRA CEO Jeff Morales.
On May 6 and May 7, CHSRA’s Board of Directors will host a two-day board meeting at Fresno City Hall to take public comment and will consider certification of the Final EIR/EIS and approval of all or parts of the Fresno to Bakersfield section of the project. Then, FRA will consider approving the Fresno to Bakersfield project section and issuing a Record of Decision related to the project and the Final EIR/EIS. That action is anticipated to occur in May or June 2014.