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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

California High Speed Rail Authority to prepare final environmental reports


Yesterday, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) closed the public comment period on a draft environmental impact report (EIR) for a proposed 700-mile, statewide high-speed rail system.

After the draft EIR was completed in January, the authority began the seven-month comment period in February. Hearings were held in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego and San Jose.

The 2,500-page report describes the potential environmental impacts of three transportation system alternatives and compares how well they would meet California’s current and future transportation needs.

For less than half the cost of building more highway lanes and airport runways, a high-speed rail system could be built to carry up to 68 million passengers by 2020, and would increase mobility, help relieve highway congestion, protect California’s environment and creat hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to the report.

Communities along the corridor support the project — negative comments primarily focused on route alignments, station locations or operational issues, according to CHSRA.

Project officials will review and respond to the thousands of comments received, and develop the final EIR. Authority officials expect the process to take about three months. CHSRA will submit the final report to the Federal Railroad Administration, then develop project-specific environmental impact reports for each of the route segments.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/1/2004