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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Caltrain appeals to CHSRA to refocus environmental review


Caltrain Executive Director Mike Scanlon has called on the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to refocus the project’s environmental impact report to design and build an initial phase. Building a smaller section of the line could deliver the benefits of high-speed rail to California’s peninsula and Caltrain while minimizing or eliminating adverse impacts on nearby communities, Scanlon believes.

To date, the authority’s environmental review has only considered the full build-out of the system designed to accommodate ridership levels expected in 2030, according to Caltrain officials.  

On Sept. 1, Scanlon wrote a letter to CHSRA urging the authority to examine how construction of the project could be phased so it results in project alternatives that are more desirable to peninsula communities, Caltrain officials said in a prepared statement.

“Under a phased approach, subsequent construction of the more controversial elements of the full build-out could be deferred, subject to demonstrated need and further environmental review,” Scanlon said in the letter.

By building in stages, the infrastructure could be constructed to accommodate an operating segment capable of meeting the system’s initial ridership needs, Scanlon added.

In recent  months, several peninsula communities have voiced opposition to the project due to a belief could run through the middle of downtown areas, splitting them in half or isolating some local businesses.