THE California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has approved the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement for the Bakersfield - Palmdale section of the planned Phase 1 alignment from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim.

This decision, made on August 19, covers 128.7km of line and paves the way for full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance of almost 482.8km of the project’s 804.6km Phase 1 alignment. The decision is the first CEQA certification in southern California.

“Today’s approval represents another major milestone for this project as we move the project into Los Angeles County,” said CHSRA CEO, Mr Brian Kelly.

This certification means pre-construction work can begin as funding becomes available. The 128.7km section will provide a north-south high-speed rail connection between the Central Valley and Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County. This will close the passenger rail gap that currently exists between the two regions. The section is also designed to accommodate a connection with the planned Brightline West high-speed line from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

The plan remains for the full environmental process for Phase 1 of the California High-Speed Rail system to be complete by 2023.

Construction is currently underway along 191.5km of the Central Valley section across 35 different sites, with an average of 1100 workers employed each day.

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