California’s high-speed line receives further environmental clearance
The California High-Speed Rail Authority issued the environmental Record of Decision for the final section of the line between Fresno and Bakersfield.
Conceptual rendering of the California High-Speed Rail project
The 23 mile section of track between Shafter and Bakersfield, the final part of the Fresno to Bakersfield line, has received environmental clearance to continue construction into Bakersfield. The California High-Speed Rail Authority issued the Record of Decision for the final 23 miles of track, completing the state’s environmental review process for the entire route.
The Supplemental Record of Decision, signed by CEO of California High-Speed Rail Authority, Brian Kelly, is the first of several environmental documents expected to be released over the following 12 months. Six remaining draft environmental documents for public comment will be released in 2020, on a schedule to complete the process ahead of the federal grant completion deadline. These actions will keep the California High-Speed Rail Authority on track to complete environmental clearance on the full 520 mile project running from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Kelly said: “I’m proud of the collaborative and cooperative effort that went into this process. Together with our local partners, we are prepared to move forward on project implementation into Bakersfield in a manner beneficial to the project, the city and the county. We look forward to a continued partnership as we enter this next phase of the project.”
Under the state’s newly granted federal National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) assignment, this decision marks the first major environmental action taken and emphasises the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s commitment to speed up the project under new executive leadership.
The section that has received clearance extends from Shafter east towards State Route 99 and the existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks, then southward into Bakersfield, ending at a station location at F Street in downtown Bakersfield.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority held over 100 stakeholder meetings, 17 additional public and technical working group meetings, and 15 monthly regulatory agency coordination meetings in order to finalise the environmental document and gather comprehensive feedback.