The California High-Speed Rail Authority has issued the Record of Decision for the final 37-km rail section between Shafter and Bakersfield in the Central Valley, completing the state’s environmental review process between Fresno and Bakersfield. This allows the authority to move toward project construction into Bakersfield.
This is the first major environmental action taken under the State’s newly granted federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and further emphasizes the authority’s commitment to accelerate the project under new executive leadership.
“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,” Brian Kelly, the authority’s CEO said.
The section receiving 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. This builds upon analysis done previously in the region, narrowing down the specific alignment route that was most amenable to the local communities.
The document evaluates potential environmental effects of the Locally Generated Alternative, the alternative developed through city and state collaboration. The associated federal approval document also issued is a supplemental Record of Decision, which is the first of several environmental documents expected to be released within the next 12 months. In 2020, the authority will release all six remaining draft environmental documents for public comment, on a schedule to complete the process well ahead of the federal grant completion deadline. Such actions will keep the authority on track to complete environmental clearance on the full 837-km project which runs from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim.