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LOSSAN North Corridor Improvement Project

The LOSSAN North Project includes conventional rail improvements to expand passenger rail service on California’s existing LOSSAN North Corridor between San Luis Obispo Rail Station and Los Angeles Union Station, a total of 222 miles. The proposed rail improvements would involve a combination of track and signal upgrades, new sidings, extensions of existing sidings, segments of second main track, curve realignments, and grade separations. Improving the LOSSAN North Corridor would support the projected future increased demand for rail services in the LOSSAN Rail Corridor at-large.

Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are currently developing a joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) for the LOSSAN North Corridor to comply with federal and State laws, in particular the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

FRA is the lead federal agency for the environmental review required by NEPA and related statutes. As such, FRA has determined that the preparation of a program-level (Tier 1) EIS is the appropriate NEPA document classification because of the broad scope of the corridor and conceptual stage of planning. In preparing this environmental document, FRA will coordinate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Caltrans is both the project sponsor and the lead agency for purposes of CEQA compliance. Caltrans has identified the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) as key responsible agencies. Caltrans determined that an EIR would be the appropriate CEQA document for this conceptual stage of planning and decision-making. Therefore, this document is being prepared as a combined EIS/EIR for compliance with both NEPA and CEQA.

No permits will be sought in this phase of environmental review. If an Action Alternative is selected at the conclusion of the EIS/EIR process, one or more of the associated improvements may be carried forward for detailed design and project-level environmental analysis, and appropriate permits will be obtained when necessary.

On January 4, 2011, FRA published a Notice of Intent to prepare a Tier 1 EIS for the Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN North) Rail Corridor Improvement Studies. The notice described the environmental process and detailed the scoping that would take place. Scoping meetings were held in January of 2011 to gather comments about the project from the public and key stakeholders.

The Draft EIS is currently in development.

If you have additional questions related to this project, please contact Amanda Ciampolillo, FRA Environmental Protection Specialist, at amanda.ciampolillo@dot.gov or 617.494.2173.

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