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The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) board earlier this week determined the environmental report for the proposed Redlands passenger-rail project met its requirements under state and federal law, after receiving the Federal Transit Administration's record of decision last month.The approvals mean the project, which would create a rail connection between the cities of San Bernardino and Redlands, Calif., is now cleared for final design and construction, SANDBAG officials said in a press release."After years of studying alternatives to reduce San Bernardino County travel congestion, we have approval to move forward on a passenger-rail solution that will connect residents and businesses with systems across the state," said SANBAG Board President L. Dennis Michael. "The project offers a reliable transportation alternative that also improves air quality and supports economic development."
SANBAG introduced the proposal with a 2004 ballot measure to extend the half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in San Bernardino County. Projected population growth and increased congestion, along with physical barriers like the Santa Ana River and Interstate 10, prompted SANBAG to consider alternative travel options for communities along the Redlands Corridor.
The locally preferred alternative runs along the existing railroad right of way from E Street in San Bernardino east to Redlands. It's about a nine-mile extension of passenger-rail service ending at the University of Redlands.
Other features of the preferred alternative include passenger-rail service of up to 25 daily trips, connecting to other transit modes with access to Los Angeles; new track and replacement/retrofit of existing bridges; four new stations and stops at five locations; safety improvements at 22 grade crossings; quiet zones; and five public crossing closures for safety reasons.