California High-Speed Rail Authority Releases Final Environmental Studies of San Francisco-San Jose Section

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has shared its final environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) for the San Francisco to San Jose section of its high-speed rail project.

An artist's rendering of a train for California's high-speed rail project
An artist’s rendering of a train for California’s high-speed rail project

This report includes an analysis of alternatives, including impacts and effects and mitigation measures proposed to reduce environmental impacts and effects.

Also included are public comments on the draft and revised reports, plus responses and revisions made.

If the final EIR/EIS is approved by the authority’s board of directors on 17 and 18 August, the 43-mile section and its preferred alternative between San Francisco and Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara will gain full environmental clearance.

This will bring it a step closer to becoming ‘shovel ready’ once construction funding becomes available.

Under both high-speed rail project build alternatives to be considered, an interim rail station is planned at 4th and King streets in San Francisco – until the connection to Salesforce Transit Center is made – along with a station at Millbrae that offers a direct BART connection to San Francisco International Airport.

Both Caltrain stations would undergo alterations to accommodate high-speed trains, including modifications to existing tracks and platforms.

Both alternatives include construction of a light maintenance facility, straightening tracks to improve travel times and installing rail corridor safety improvements.

The preferred alternative includes an East Brisbane light maintenance facility and excludes the additional passing tracks proposed in the other build alternative.

Brian Kelly, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said:

“We're making true progress on nearing full environmental clearance for the entire Phase 1 high-speed rail project.

“With 380 miles from the Bay Area to northern Los Angeles County already complete, today’s release brings us into San Francisco and nearly 423 miles to be environmentally cleared.

“We look forward to the board’s consideration of this document in August.”

The California high-speed rail project is currently under construction along 119 miles in the state’s Central Valley.

In May the authority applied for 1.3 billion USD ((1.21bn EUR) in federal grants to help finance its project to construct America’s first 220 mph, electrified high-speed train system.

During the same month, three former US Transportation Secretaries, along with several labour unions, organisations and businesses signed a letter urging California State Senate and Assembly leaders to approve 4.2bn USD (3.93bn euros) in bond funding.

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