“We Will Not Delay Consideration” – California High-Speed Rail Authority Proceeds with Fresno-Bakersfield Final Environmental Impact Report

Get ready for the California High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting in Fresno on May 6 and 7, 2014 for public comment and a vote on the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (FEIR/FEIS) for the Fresno to Bakersfield Project Segment of the California High-Speed Train Program. This report is required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and federal National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) sent a letter dated April 23, 2014 to the California High-Speed Rail Authority asking the agency to delay a May 7, 2014 scheduled vote of the board on the Fresno to Bakersfield Project Segment. CCHSRA argued that 17 days was too short of a time for interested parties to review and analyze the Authority’s 4,800 pages of responses.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority responded promptly with a letter dated April 28, 2014 to CCHSRA declaring that the process for environmental review has been ongoing for five years. With other arguments, it concluded that “we will not delay consideration of the Final EIR/EIS.”

As reported in the article “Bullet Train Opponents Want More Time to Review EIR” in the April 28, 2014 Central Valley Business Times, Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) and State Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) also requested the Authority to delay the vote.

One comment

  • Robert S. Allen

    One gets only 90 seconds to speak at the CHSRA meetings, and that’s like talking to a stone wall. Neither the policy board nor the staff answer serious proposals made in that time. For example:

    Stop squandering HSR funds on the Caltrain “Bookend”;

    Stop initial HSR to Bay Area at San Jose, with transfer there to Caltrain & Capcor;

    Upgrade Amtrak’s East Bay Mulford line and go on to Sacramento; and

    Consider a transfer station at the BART overhead crossing in Oakland.

    Much better, safer, more reliable, and lower cost than what they have ordained!

    2008 Prop 1A called for “The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train…”

    Grade crossings of 79 mph track (like Calltrain) are neither safe nor reliable.

    For example, Amtrak at Bourbonnais, IL, 15 years ago. (see Wikipedia).

    Higher speeds would multiply the destruction.

    That was an accident. Since then we’ve seen what terrorists will do.

    Notice that much of the governor’s support comes from agencies that want HSR money to fund costly “Bookend” projects (e.g., Caltrain electrification and extension to downtown SF) that the local agencies should be funding themselves. Caltrain has dozens of grade crossings that are susceptible to accident, vandalism, and even terrorism.

    Best wishes in Fresno. Wish I could be there, but I can’t.

    Robert S. Allen (925) 449-1387

    BART Director, District 5, 1974-1988

    Retired, SP (now UP) Western Division, Engineering/Operations