The document, the first issued for the northern California phase of the project, opened for public consultation on April 24.

The San Jose - Merced Project phase will connect Silicon Valley with the Central Valley, shortening travel times and integrating high-speed rail with other transport modes. The line will eventually connect the Bay Area with the Central Valley and Southern California.

The 144km section includes stations at San Jose Diridon and Gilroy as well as a maintenance of way facility either south or southeast of Gilroy, and a maintenance of way siding west of Turner Island Road in the Central Valley.

CHSRA says that with the release of this San Jose - Merced Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), it remains on track to complete environmental clearance for the full Phase 1 system by the federally mandated 2022 deadline.

During the public review period, CHSRA will run community open houses and a public hearing, although these may need to take place online due to concerns about Covid-19.

Los Angeles

CHSRA’s board of directors have also approved a preliminary funding plan with LA Metro to bring forward the Link Union Station project (Link US). The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlines a proposal for CHSRA’s shared use of right-of-way in Palmdale, Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) and several additional locations within Southern California.

The Link US project will allow trains to enter and exit the station from both existing northern lines and new lines to the south over the 101 freeway.

“Metro is very excited to partner with CHSRA to enable future high-speed rail service to Los Angeles Union Station,” says Metro CEO, Mr Phillip Washington. “We appreciate high-speed rail’s contribution of $US 423m to this Link US project.”

The MoU contains four major components:

  • an agreement to work together to construct Link US in a manner that will accommodate all current and future operators
  • outlines the need for a funding agreement for the first phase of the Link US project to include $US 18.7m for design and environmental aspects and $US 423.3m for construction from CHSRA; it also acknowledges a $US 398.39m investment from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program
  • an agreement between the parties to work towards shared use of LA Metro right of way in Palmdale, LAUS and sections of the Valley and River subdivisions, and
  • a provision for all parties to make the best efforts to acquire funding for the next phase of the Link US project for completion prior to the 2028 Olympics through state, local and federal grants, legislative action and private entities.

LAUS is Southern California’s largest multi-modal transport hub, providing rail connections to six counties through the Metrolink commuter rail network, the Los Angeles - San Diego - San Luis Obispo corridor, as well as long-distance Amtrak services.

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