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1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]
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SACRAMENTO – The California High-Speed Rail Authority is releasing the first project-level Draft Environmental Document for a project section in Northern California.

The document, which covers the 90-mile extent of the 145-mile San Jose to Merced Project Section from Scott Boulevard in Santa Clara to Carlucci Road in Merced County, will be open for public comment starting on Friday, April 24.

“The release of the draft environmental document for this project section marks an important milestone for the high-speed rail program. With the release of this first environmental document in Northern California, we are continuing to show progress on every mile of the statewide system,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “We look forward to hearing from the communities along the route to ensure our project provides a clean, next-generation travel option while improving local quality of life.”

“This is an important step towards bringing high-speed rail to San Jose and the Silicon Valley. Now is the time to make investments that will connect all of California with sustainable transportation options,” said city of San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We want to see high-speed rail get to San Jose — and will keep working with the Authority to limit impacts to neighborhoods and ensure that Diridon Station becomes a world-class intermodal hub.”

The San Jose to Merced Project Section would connect Silicon Valley and Central Valley with a fast and reliable high-speed rail travel option. By shortening travel times and integrating the high-speed rail system with other modes of travel, this segment of the statewide high-speed rail system will tie California’s regions together like never before.

This section is also an important component of the entire statewide system that will connect the Bay Area with the Central Valley and Southern California.

The approximately 90-mile project extent will travel through or near the communities of Santa Clara, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and Los Banos. The project comprises high-speed rail system infrastructure, high-speed rail stations at San Jose Diridon and Gilroy, a maintenance of way facility (MOWF) either south or southeast of Gilroy, and a maintenance of way siding (MOWS) west of Turner Island Road in the Central Valley. Stations at San Jose Diridon and Gilroy would provide links with regional and local mass transit.

With the release of this San Jose to Merced Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), the Authority remains on track to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 system by the federally mandated 2022 deadline.

From Friday, April 24 through Monday, June 8, the San Jose to Merced Project Section Draft EIR/EIS will be available for a minimum 45-day CEQA and NEPA review and public comment period.

In conjunction with the public review period for the document, the Authority invites you to participate in the community open houses and a public hearing. The public hearing will provide an opportunity for the public to submit verbal comments on the Draft EIR/EIS.

Comments received regarding environmental issues will be reviewed and responded to as required by law. The final EIR/EIS document for San Jose to Merced will be issued in 2021.

Due to public health and safety requirements concerning COVID-19, the community open houses and/or the public hearing for the Draft EIR/EIS may need to occur online and/or as teleconference meetings only. Please check the Authority website (www.hsr.ca.gov) for more information, including up-to-date information on the planned hearing and open houses.

Public Hearing is scheduled on:

May 27, 2020, 3:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Santa Clara County Government Center
Board of Supervisors Chambers
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA, 95110

Public Open House meetings are scheduled on:

San Jose Open House Meeting
May 11, 2020
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
San Jose City Hall, Rotunda,
200 E. Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA, 95113

Gilroy Open House Meeting
May 14, 2020
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Hall,
74 w. 6th Street
Gilroy, CA, 95020

Los Banos Open House Meeting
May 18, 2020
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Los Banos Community Center,
645 7th Street,
Los Banos, CA, 93635

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, 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).

After the comment period closes on Monday, June 8, 2020 and the comments received have been evaluated, staff will prepare and issue the Final EIR/EIS document and present it to the Board to consider certification and project approval under CEQA and NEPA.

There are several ways to submit a comment regarding the Draft EIR/EIS for the San Jose to Merced Project Section including:

* At one of the four meetings detailed above

* Online via the Authority’s website (www.hsr.ca.gov)

* Via email at San.Jose_Merced@hsr.ca.gov with the subject line “San Jose to Merced Draft EIR/EIS Comment”

* Via mail at the address below:
Attn: San Jose to Merced: Draft EIR/EIS California High-Speed Rail Authority
100 Paseo de San Antonio, Suite 300
San Jose, CA 95113

To view the contents of the Draft EIR/EIS, please visit our website starting Friday, April 24, 2020: www.hsr.ca.gov.

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1 Comment

  1. Marco Flatus-Maximus says:

    What they really need to do is an economic demand and cost benefit analysis. No one in San Jose wants to go to Merced at all. No one in Merced with a job wants to go to San Jose. No body needs this it is a huge SCAM. Passenger Rail in the U.S. has not been profitable in 50 years. Air Travel is cheaper, safer and more efficient, and MARKET DRIVEN. Amtrak does not offer rail service in sections of this route because buses meet the need better.
    This is a pure pork unneeded infrastructure project money pit. If it won’t clearly pay for itself: KILL IT NOW. No one is in a huge hurry to travel up the valley. Bullet trains in Japan and China have something we don’t: PASSENGERS who need to get from point A to point B.

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