Tuesday, January 10, 2012

California HSR Authority releases study

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California’s High-Speed Rail Authority should not consider a proposed route for high speed rail along Interstate 5 in southern California and instead should study a proposed route through Palmdale, according to a study recommendation released Monday.

The CHSRA Board will consider the suggestion at its Jan. 12 meeting in Los Angeles. The study, begun in May 2011, backs a 2005 Programmatic Environmental Impact Review and Environmental Impact Statement, stating that the Antelope Valley corridor still has fewer potential environmental impacts and greater connectivity than the I-5 corridor. The study sought to determine if an update would discover enough changes that would justify an I-5 alignment in the Project Level EIR/EIS instead.

The study reaffirmed that the Antelope Valley alignments offer greater connectivity and accessibility to the fastest growing area of Los Angeles County. The alignments also provide greater opportunities for alignment variations through the mountains to avoid impacts to environmental resources. HSR’s potential impact on urbanized land and farmland conversion due to growth would also be less than those on the I-5 corridor, the study found. 

Said CHSRA CEO Roelof van Ark, “The goal of this conceptual study was to review factors that changed since 2005 to ensure the most operationally successful alignment is being planned."

The study is available on the CHSRA website.

CHSRA plans to implement phase 1 of an eventual 700-mile statewide HSR system linking the Bay Area and Sacramento, in the north, to Los Angeles and San Diego.

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