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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

California high-speed authority releases environmental, implementation plans

Yesterday, the California High Speed Rail Authority board released a Final Program Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement and implementation plan for a proposed statewide high-speed rail corridor. The authority also elected Vice Chairman Fran Florez — who serves as Shafter, Calif., mayor -— chairman.

The final environmental report includes modifications based on comments the authority gathered during the public review process.

Instead of selecting a specific alignment, authority officials identified a wide corridor between Burbank and Los Angeles’ Union Station for further study. Officials also added a Central California Traction alignment option between Sacramento and Stockton and plan to complete a study to determine the feasibility of including a connection to Visalia.

In addition, the authority approved an implementation plan that calls for working with private companies to adapt existing high-speed train technology to meet California’s needs.

"The implementation plan acts as a roadmap for the authority’s evolution from an oversight board to a small planning group," said Florez in a prepared statement. "Upon securing funding to build the system, we will evolve into a construction management agency and, after the train system is built, into a long-term manager of operations and assets."

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More News from 8/4/2005