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December 2
1972 - Five wounded in Vagos biker gang shooting at Curtis & JoAnne Darcy's Acton '49er Saloon [story]
Darcys 49er


Sacramento — The California High-Speed Rail Authority issued the Record of Decision for the final 23-mile route between Shafter and Bakersfield in the Central Valley on Friday.

This completes the state’s environmental review process between Fresno and Bakersfield and allows the Authority to move toward high-speed rail project construction into Bakersfield.

This is the first major environmental action taken under the state’s newly granted federal National Environmental Protection Act, or NEPA, assignment and further emphasizes the Authority’s commitment to accelerate the project under new executive leadership.

“I’m proud of the collaborative and cooperative effort that went into this process,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “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.”

In order to finalize this environmental document and gather comprehensive feedback, the High-Speed Rail Authority held more than 100 stakeholder meetings, 17 additional public and technical working group meetings, and 15 monthly regulatory agency coordination meetings.

The section receiving clearance extends from Shafter east toward 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 released Friday is a Final Supplemental EIS under NEPA. The document evaluates the potential environmental effects of the Locally Generated Alternative, the alternative developed through city and state collaboration.

high-speed rail into bakersfield

The associated federal approval document also issued Friday is a Supplemental Record of Decision. This federal approval is similar to the action the High-Speed Rail Authority’s Board of Directors took in October 2018 under the state’s California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, for this project segment.

The Supplemental Record of Decision signed by CEO Brian Kelly and issued today 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 (via Records of Decision) well ahead of the federal grant completion deadline.

Those pending EIRs are for:
* Bakersfield to Palmdale (January 2020)
* Burbank to Los Angeles (February 2020)
* Palmdale to Burbank (February 2020)
* San Jose to Merced (March 2020)
* San Francisco to San Jose (April 2020)
* Los Angeles to Anaheim (November 2020)

Such actions will keep the Authority on track to complete environmental clearance on the full 520-mile project which runs from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim.

In other HRS news, the Authority’s Board of Directors will meet next on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the California Board of Accountancy in Sacramento. Click here for the agenda.

The Authority’s Finance and Audit Committee will also meet at the same location the same day. Click here for the agenda.

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