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Draft environmental document to be released for Burbank–Los Angeles high-speed rail section

Posted: 27 May 2020 | | No comments yet

On Friday 29 May 2020, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) is to release the project-level draft environmental document covering the approximately 14-mile Burbank to Los Angeles Project section.

First draft environmental document released for Northern California high-speed project

Credit: www.hsr.ca.gov

The Burbank to Los Angeles section of the California high-speed rail project will connect two key multi-modal transportation hubs in Los Angeles County, a new Burbank Airport Station in Burbank and the existing Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) in Los Angeles. These stations are intended to provide links with regional and local mass transit services as well as connectivity to airports and the highway networks in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles Basin. This project section is also an important component of the entire state-wide high-speed rail system that will connect Southern California with the Central Valley and Bay Area.

The California high-speed rail line will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands. The line will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200mph. The line will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totalling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. In addition, the Authority is working with regional partners to implement a state-wide rail modernisation plan that will invest billions of dollars in local and regional rail lines to meet the state’s 21st century transportation needs.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIR/EIS) evaluates the impacts and benefits of the Authority’s Build Alternative that would realign the existing rail tracks to allow for two additional tracks to be added to much of the corridor. It will feature two electrified tracks for high-speed rail that can be shared with Metrolink and Amtrak, and two non-electrified tracks for Metrolink, Amtrak, and freight within the existing corridor. Closer to LAUS, there are already four existing mainline tracks and two of those will be electrified.

Adding high-speed rail tracks enhances this shared urban rail corridor by improving safety and operations for passenger rail and freight rail services. It also supports rail operations capacity enhancements and train service reliability improvements of the nation’s second busiest passenger rail line, the LOSSAN corridor between Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo. This corridor connects some of California’s most significant tourist, entertainment, cultural and business destinations.

With the release of the Burbank to Los Angeles Draft EIR/EIS, the Authority remains on schedule to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 system by the federally mandated 2022 deadline. From Friday 29 May 2020 through to Thursday 16 July 2020, the Burbank to Los Angeles Draft EIR/EIS is available for CEQA and NEPA review and public comment.

In conjunction with the public review period for the document, the Authority is inviting the public to participate in both an online community open house and online public hearing. The public hearing will provide an opportunity for the public to submit oral and written comments on the Draft EIR/EIS. Comments received will be reviewed and responded to as required by law. The Final EIR/EIS document for Burbank to Los Angeles will be issued in 2021 and presented to the Authority Board to consider certification and project approval under CEQA and NEPA.

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