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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

FRA's draft EIS could delay DesertXpress project


DesertXpress’ proposed high-speed rail line connecting Las Vegas and southern California may be delayed because the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently issued a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (EIS), which will require two additional public hearings.

The supplemental EIS was released as a result of modifications made to the alignment alternatives addressed in the draft EIS that issued last year, DesertXpress spokesperson Lee Haney said in an email.

The modifications were made in response to comments received on the draft EIS and include new track alignment alternatives in the Barstow, Calif., and Mountain Pass areas of Interstate 15, and some additional site alternatives for things such as electrical substations and maintenance facilities, Haney said, adding that issuing a supplemental draft EIS is not uncommon for a project of this size.

While the issuing of the draft EIS does require additional steps be taken, “DesertXpress is optimistic that the FRA will issue the final EIS by the end of the year so DesertXpress can begin construction of the first high-speed rail project in the U.S.,” Haney said.

DesertXpress had hoped to begin construction by year’s end.

— Katie Berk

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/5/2010