The California Department of Transportation (Department) prepared a Program Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/EIS) for incremental improvements along the existing Los Angeles to San Diego rail corridor with the FRA, the federal lead agency for the document. For this project, the Department is both the project sponsor and the lead agency for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements. The Department and FRA have determined that a Program EIR is the appropriate document for the project at this conceptual stage of planning and decision-making, which would involve defining and evaluating incremental improvements, alternative corridors, station improvements, and phasing options.
The Draft Program EIR/EIS was released in August 2004 and was available for public review and comment through October 27, 2004. The Final Program EIR/EIS was released in September, 2007. The Record of Decision was issued March 18, 2009.
As part of the EIR/EIS process, the Department prepared a Strategic Plan to help to define the alternatives to be considered in the EIR/EIS. The Strategic Plan describes the need for rail improvements as an option to help relieve the growing capacity and congestion constraints of the existing highway and passenger rail infrastructure between Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties. The Strategic Plan also describes how incremental improvements would serve the purpose of augmenting the existing rail infrastructure, helping to relieve congestion and capacity constraints, while simultaneously offering a reliable, safe and time-efficient travel alternative to the automobile.