California high-speed rail board given environmental go-ahead to advance service into Los Angeles

2 min read

California High-Speed Rail Authority’s board of directors has unanimously approved the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the 14-mile Burbank to Los Angeles high speed rail section.

Columns at the Hanford Viaduct
Columns at the Hanford Viaduct

This action clears the way for full California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance of nearly 300 miles of the high-speed rail project’s 500-mile Phase 1 alignment from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is responsible for planning, designing, building and operating the first high-speed rail system in the nation. California high-speed rail will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs, and preserve agricultural and protected lands. 

High-speed rail in California will run on 100% renewable energy and will be all electric all the time. High-speed rail will help achieve California’s climate goals by reducing transportation emissions and being part of a sustainable transportation network.

In Phase One, currently being worked on, high speed rail will connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. Phase Two will see the line extended to Sacramento in the north and San Diego in the south.

“Today’s approval represents a historic milestone and brings us closer to providing the first high-speed rail system in the United States,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “We appreciate the continued support and collaboration with local and regional agencies and stakeholders as we work together to improve transportation in California.”

The Board’s certification of the Burbank to Los Angeles Final EIR/EIS is a critical milestone that moves the project section closer to being “shovel ready” as funding becomes available. The section will connect the high-speed rail system from a new Hollywood Burbank Airport Station to the existing Los Angeles Union Station, providing an additional link between Downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

The alignment for this project section will primarily use existing railroad right-of-way adjacent to the Los Angeles River through the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and Los Angeles. High-speed rail service along this route will improve long-term air quality, decrease rail congestion, and increase mobility.

The board certification of the final environmental document and approval of the Burbank to Los Angeles project section reaffirms the Authority’s commitment to complete the environmental process for the full Phase 1 California High-Speed Rail System from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by 2023.

The Board will consider the final environmental documents for the San Jose to Merced and San Francisco to San Jose project sections in April and June of this year.

The Authority currently has 119 miles under construction with 35 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley. To date, more than 7,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of construction.

Watch the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s November 2021 construction update here: