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The California High-Speed Rail Authority's (CHSRA) board yesterday certified the final supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section of the state's plan to build a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.The board also approved a high-speed rail alignment between Poplar Avenue in Kern County and the F Street station in downtown Bakersfield. The moves enable CHSRA to take additional steps toward advancing major work on the overall project, agency officials said in a news release."Having a high-speed rail station in Bakersfield will spur new economic activities and development in the region, and tie the Central Valley to Northern and Southern California like never before," said CHSRA Chair Dan Richard.The final supplemental EIR evaluates the locally generated alternative, which extends from Shafter east toward State Route 99 and the existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks, then southward into downtown Bakersfield. The document compares that alternative to the alignment in the area previously studied in 2014.The board voted to certify the EIR under the California Environmental Quality Act after hearing a staff presentation and public comments.The next step involves the release of a final supplemental environmental impact statement from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). After that, the FRA would consider approving the project and issuing a record of decision under the National Environmental Policy Act, CHSRA officials said.CHSRA released the final supplemental EIR earlier this month.
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