The San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) is launching an effort to modernize the existing Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) rail service. The ACEforward initiative is focused on near-term improvements in the existing corridor to enhance regional connections between the California Central Valley, the Tri-Valley and Silicon Valley. As of June 6, 2013, project leadership and funding for the Altamont Corridor has been transferred from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission.
Additional information about the project can be found at http://www.acerail.com/sjrrc/capitalprojects.aspx.
Environmental Review Process
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) will jointly prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the ACEforward Program in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The EIR/EIS will analyze proposed improvement and expansion of existing rail service between Stockton and San Jose, California, as well as extension of the rail service to Modesto and Merced, California. FRA and SJRRC are using a tiered process for the environmental review. Under this approach, the Tier-1 analysis evaluates the environmental impacts of a program of improvements at a conceptual level, while the Tier-2 analysis provides a more detailed evaluation of the impacts resulting from site-specific project components. The EIR/EIS for ACEforward will include both a Tier-1 and a Tier-2 analysis.
FRA has responsibility for overseeing the safety of railroad operations and may need to take certain regulatory action prior to operation of the new or expanded service. In addition, FRA is authorized to provide federal funding for intercity passenger rail capital investments and may provide financial assistance for the program in the future. FRA will serve as the federal lead agency for the preparation of the EIS. SJRRC will serve as the state lead agency for the preparation of the EIR.
Under CEQA a Notice of Preparation (NOP) was released on June 24, 2013. The full NOP can be reviewed HERE. The Notice of Intent (NOI) is currently being processed for publication in the Federal Register to satisfy requirements under NEPA.
Scoping Meetings will be held at the following locations:
For questions about the public scoping meetings, please email: email@example.com
Written comments on the scope of the ACEforward Program EIR/EIS, including the program’s purpose and need, the alternatives to be considered, the impacts to be evaluated and the methodologies to be used in the evaluations, should be provided to the FRA and/or SJRRC within thirty (30) days of the publication of the NOI in the Federal Register.
Written comments should be sent to:
Mr. Dan Leavitt, Manager of Regional Initiatives
ATTN: ACEforward Program EIR/EIS
949 East Channel Street
Stockton, CA 95202
Or via email with the Subject line “ACEforward Program EIR/EIS” to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments can also be sent to:
Ms. Stephanie Perez
Environmental Protection Specialist
Office of Railroad Policy and Development
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Or via email with the Subject line “ACEforward Program EIR/EIS” to: email@example.com.