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The California High-Speed Rail Authority yesterday began the environmental review process for the San Francisco-to-San Jose leg of the future rail system.The authority issued a "notice of preparation" to initiate an environmental impact report and/or environmental impact statement. In addition, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a new "notice of intent" to launch the federal environmental review of the segment, according to an authority press release.The 51-mile segment is being planned as a blended system that will support Caltrain's electrified service and high-speed rail service primarily on shared track. That approach is designed to minimize the impact on surrounding communities, reduce the project's cost, improve safety and expedite implementation, authority officials said.Preparation of the environmental document will include a scoping and public outreach process, development of preliminary engineering designs and assessment of environmental effects associated with the future rail system's construction, operation and maintenance.The authority will host three scoping meetings this month to solicit public opinion on the environmental document. Those meetings will be held May 23 in San Francisco, May 24 in San Mateo and May 25 in Mountain View.The formal comment period will continue until June 10. The segment under environmental review is part of the system's first phase, which will connect the cities of San Francisco, Millbrae (San Francisco Airport) and San Jose on the Caltrain corridor. Proposed stations would be located at San Francisco 4th and King and/or Transbay Transit Center, near the San Francisco Airport (Millbrae) and San Jose, authority officials said.By 2029, the California high-speed rail system is proposed to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours at speeds of up to 200 mph.
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