California High-Speed Rail Releases Draft Environmental Document for Palmdale to Burbank Section
LOS ANGELES – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has released the draft environmental document for the more than 30-mile segment between Palmdale and Burbank in Southern California.
“The release of this draft environmental document underscores the momentum taking place with this transformational project,” said Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo. “We have environmentally cleared 422 of the 500-mile Phase 1 system between the Bay Area and Los Angeles/Anaheim. We look forward to hearing from residents and stakeholders during this public comment phase as we work to deliver a clean, fast and safe transportation network for all Californians.”
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The draft environmental document is available for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) public review through November 1.
The project section is between 31 and 38 miles long, and will connect two key population centers in Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley and the San Fernando Valley, by linking future multimodal transportation hubs in Palmdale and Burbank.
The draft environmental document addresses traffic, air quality, noise, vibration and aesthetics, and evaluates the impacts and benefits of six build alternatives:
The Preferred Alternative is SR14A Alternative, which would avoid crossing Una Lake and minimizes impacts to nearby wetlands.
Trains operating on the Preferred Alternative alignment would be fully underground through the community of Acton, the Angeles National Forest, and the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The SR14A Alternative is also underground where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, avoiding impacts to the trail. Through the northern portion of the San Fernando Valley, the SR14A Alternative is in a tunnel, emerges near the Hansen Dam Spreading Grounds and then follows the Metrolink/Union Pacific rail alignment almost entirely within the existing corridor to Burbank.
With the release of this Palmdale to Burbank Project Section Draft EIR/EIS, the Authority is on track to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by the end of 2024.
In conjunction with the public review period for the Draft EIR/EIS, the Authority invites the public to participate in an online open house and an online public hearing. The open house meeting will provide the public an overview of the environmental document, opportunity for attendees to review and ask questions about the Draft EIR/EIS, and information on where to access the environmental document and how to participate in the public comment process. The public hearing will provide an opportunity to submit comments on the Draft EIR/EIS.
The Open House meeting will consist of two separate presentations in English and Spanish with simultaneous interpretation. The English presentation will have live Spanish interpretation and the Spanish presentation will have live English interpretation.
Comments received will be reviewed and responded to in the Final EIR/EIS. The Final EIR/EIS for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section is anticipated to be issued in 2023 and presented to the Authority Board of Directors to consider certification and project approval under CEQA and NEPA.
Due to public health and safety concerns related to COVID-19, the meetings for the Draft EIR/EIS will be held online. Please check the Authority website (www.hsr.ca.gov) or call (800) 630-1039 for more information on additional opportunities for in-person meetings, if permissible by COVID-19 pandemic public health and safety directives.
The Authority is issuing this document as lead agency under CEQA, and also under NEPA pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) effective as of July 23, 2019. The MOU is between the State of California and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under a program commonly known as NEPA assignment (the MOU assigned FRA’s NEPA responsibilities for the project to the State of California).
There are several ways to submit a comment regarding the Draft EIR/EIS for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section including:
By mail to Attn: “Palmdale to Burbank Draft EIR/EIS Comment”, California High-Speed Rail Authority, 355 S. Grand Avenue, Suite 2050, Los Angeles, CA 90071;
Through the Authority’s website www.hsr.ca.gov;
By email to Palmdale_Burbank@hsr.ca.govwith the subject line “Palmdale to Burbank Draft EIR/EIS Comment”;
Verbal comment on the direct phone line for the Palmdale to Burbank Project Section at (800) 630-1039; and
Oral testimony at the online Public Hearing.
To view the contents of the Draft EIR/EIS, please visit the Authority’s website: www.hsr.ca.gov.
California high-speed rail is currently under construction along 119 miles in California’s Central Valley at 35 active job sites. To date, more than 8,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of construction. For more visit: www.buildhsr.comExternal Link.
The following link contains recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings: https://hsra.app.box.com/s/vyvjv9hckwl1dk603ju15u07fdfir2q8External Link.
These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.