The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) proposes a high-speed rail system to provide a safe and reliable mode of travel that links major statewide metropolitan centers of California. The system would extend from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, through the Central Valley, to Los Angeles and San Diego. The Authority is both the project sponsor and the lead agency for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. The FRA is the lead federal agency for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review requirements. The first-tier of environmental review of the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) system was completed in November 2005.
Continuing the tiered environmental review process, a Bay Area to Central Valley HSR Program Environmental Impact Report / Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) has been prepared to further examine the broad corridor selected for this region of the HSR system. The broad corridor between the Bay Area and Central Valley is generally bounded by (and including) the Pacheco Pass (SR-152) to the South, the Altamont Pass (I-580) to the North, the BNSF Corridor to the East, and the Caltrain Corridor to the West. The primary purpose of this phase of the HSR environmental process is to do further studies to help identify a preferred general alignment for the HSR between the Bay Area and Central Valley.
The draft program EIR/EIS was made available to the public in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The initial 70-day comment period was extended and closed October 26th, 2007. The Authority held a number of public hearings that have been scheduled to receive comments from the public and public agencies on the draft program EIR/EIS and the HSR alternatives it discusses. The final program EIR/EIS was released in May 2008. The Authority board approved certification of the EIR on July 9th, 2008. FRA issued a Record of Decision on December 2, 2008.