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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield segment of the proposed California high-speed rail project.The Final EIR/EIS includes revised preliminary engineering designs, and the identification and analysis of the potential environmental effects associated with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the high-speed route, including track structures, ancillary facilities and stations, FRA officials said in a press release.The report represents a comprehensive project-level review of the 114-mile section from downtown Fresno to downtown Bakersfield with proposed stations in the Kings-Tulare County region and Bakersfield in addition to a Fresno station location approved in 2012, said California High Speed Rail Authority officials in a press release.The final EIR/EIS identifies the preferred alternative as parts of the BNSF Railway Co., Corcoran Bypass, Allensworth Bypass and Bakersfield Hybrid alternatives. Proposed stations are identified as the downtown Bakersfield station on Truxtum Avenue, and east of Hanford/west of Visalia station option near State Route 198, authority officials said."The release of this document represents the culmination of a multi-year effort that included extensive environmental review, preliminary engineering and several opportunities for members of the communities along the alignment to participate in the process by providing feedback, public comments and frequent interaction with the project team," said Jeff Morales, the authority's chief executive officer.The authority's board will host a two-day meeting May 6-7 at Fresno City Hall to accept public comments on the document. Also at that time, the board will consider certification of the Final EIR/EIS and approval of all or parts of the Fresno-to-Bakersfield section.Meanwhile, the FRA will accept written comments on the Final EIR/EIS during a 30-day period starting April 25.
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