The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors approved the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Bakersfield – Palmdale rail section. The action paves the way for full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance of 483 km (300 miles) of the first phase of the high-speed rail project with a length of 804.6 km (500 mile) from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim.
The Board’s actions mark the first CEQA certification of an environmental document in the Southern California region and reaffirms the authority’s commitment to complete the environmental process for the full Phase 1 California high-speed rail system by 2023.
The approval “represents another major milestone for this project as we move the project into Los Angeles County. We appreciate the collaboration with our local and regional partners as we work to build a clean, electrified high-speed rail system that will connect our state for generations to come,” said CEO Brian Kelly said.
The Board’s certification of the Bakersfield to Palmdale Final EIR/EIS and approval of the project section allows the authority to begin preconstruction work as funding becomes available.
The 129 km (80 miles) Bakersfield – Palmdale rail section provides a north-south high-speed rail connection between the Central Valley and the Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, closing the passenger rail gap over the Tehachapi Mountains that currently exists between the two regions. The section is designed to accommodate a connection with the Brightline West high-speed rail project to Las Vegas.
The project section crosses through or near the cities of Edison, Tehachapi, Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale with proposed stations in Bakersfield and at the Palmdale Transport Centre. The section will span the Tehachapi Mountains with a new modern rail line that closes the current passenger rail gap between Central and Southern California.
The passengers will make a 25-minute high-speed rail trip along the high-speed rail section.
The high-speed rail system planned for California will encompass 1,287 km (800 miles) of rail, with up to 24 stations. The project is split into ten separate sections which will go through the same individual Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) before significant work can begin in the area. Currently there are 191.5 km (119 miles) under construction with more than 35 active construction sites.