High-speed rail project in Calif. about to be ‘nearly 423 miles environmentally cleared’

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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California high-speed rail continues to make progress.
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The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the approximately 43-mile San Francisco-to-San Jose project section in northern California.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has released the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the approximately 43-mile San Francisco-to-San Jose project section in northern California. If approved by the Authority’s Board of Directors in August, this project section and its environmental document will complete full environmental clearance for high-speed rail in northern California. 

“We’re making true progress on nearing full environmental clearance for the entire Phase 1 high-speed rail project,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “With 380 miles from the Bay Area to northern Los Angeles County already complete, today’s release brings us into San Francisco and nearly 423 miles to be environmentally cleared. We look forward to the Board’s consideration of this document in August.” 

The Authority’s Board of Directors will consider certifying the San Francisco-to-San Jose project section Final EIR/EIS and approving the Preferred Alternative between San Francisco and Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara during its two-day board meeting Aug. 17 and 18. If approved, this project section will move a step closer to being “shovel ready” for when preconstruction and construction funding becomes available.

Under both high-speed rail project build alternatives to be considered by the Board of Directors, an interim rail station is planned at 4th & King streets in San Francisco—until the connection to Salesforce Transit Center is made—along with a station at Millbrae that offers a direct BART connection to San Francisco International Airport. Both Caltrain stations would undergo alterations to accommodate high-speed trains, including modifications to existing tracks and platforms. 

Both alternatives include constructing a light maintenance facility, straightening tracks to improve travel times, and installing rail corridor safety improvements. The Preferred Alternative for Board consideration, identified in the Final EIR/EIS as the portion of Alternative A to Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara, includes an East Brisbane Light Maintenance Facility and excludes the additional passing tracks proposed in the other build alternative studied in the Final EIR/EIS, Alternative B. 

The Final EIR/EIS includes:

  • An analysis of alternatives, including impacts and effects;
  • Mitigation measures proposed to reduce environmental impacts and effects;
  • Public comments received on the Draft EIR/EIS and Revised/Supplemental Draft EIR/EIS and responses to comments; and
  • Revisions to the Draft EIR/EIS made in response to comments.

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