High-speed rail board clears final environmental hurdles to advance service into Los Angeles

Jan. 24, 2022
Sixty percent of Phase 1 for the system from San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim is now environmentally cleared.

The Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the approximately 14-mile Burbank to Los Angeles project section received unanimous approval from the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) Board of Directors.  

This action clears the way for full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance of nearly 300 miles of the high-speed rail project’s 500-mile Phase 1 alignment from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim. 

The board’s actions mark the second certification of an environmental document in the Southern California region and the first in the Los Angeles Basin. 

“Today’s approval represents a historic milestone and brings us closer to providing the first high-speed rail system in the United States,” said CHSRACEO Brian Kelly. “We appreciate the continued support and collaboration with local and regional agencies and stakeholders as we work together to improve transportation in California.” 

The board’s certification of the Burbank to Los Angeles Final EIR/EIS is a critical milestone that moves the project section closer to being shovel ready as funding becomes available. The section will connect the high-speed rail system from a new Hollywood Burbank Airport Station to the existing Los Angeles Union Station, providing an additional link between Downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. 

The alignment for this project section will primarily use existing railroad right-of-way adjacent to the Los Angeles River through the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Los Angeles. High-speed rail service along this route aims to improve long-term air quality, decrease rail congestion and increase mobility. 

The board certification of the final environmental document and approval of the Burbank to Los Angeles project section reaffirms the Authority’s commitment to complete the environmental process for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by 2023. 

The board will consider the final environmental documents for the San Jose to Merced and San Francisco to San Jose project sections in April and June of this year. 

Next steps under CEQA and NEPA will include filing a CEQA Notice of Determination and issuing a Record of Decision consistent with NEPA requirements. The Final EIR/EIS can be found on the CHSRA’s website. 

The authority currently has 119 miles under construction with 35 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley. To date, more than 7,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of construction.