The board of directors of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is coming to Bakersfield on Tuesday to invite public comment on what it calls the final supplemental environmental impact report for the Fresno-to-Bakersfield project section.
That's a mouthful. And placing the words "final" and "supplemental" in the same description may seem like a grammatical stretch.
Nevertheless the authority said in a press release that the EIR represents a "comprehensive project-level review of the southern part of the section that runs between Poplar Avenue in Shafter and a station location in downtown Bakersfield."
The EIR evaluates what the High-Speed Rail Authority has dubbed "the locally generated alternative," which extends from Shafter east toward Highway 99 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, then southward into Bakersfield, ending at a station location on F Street near downtown Bakersfield.
The document then compares that alternative to an alignment in the area previously studied in 2014, an earlier route that foresaw a local station on Truxtun and Union avenues.
The Fresno to Bakersfield locally generated alternative process has included and is expected to include the following milestones:
• November 2017 — Public release of draft supplemental EIR/EIS
• October 2018 — Final supplemental EIR released
• November/December 2018 — Final supplemental EIS and supplemental record of decision
• The schedule for final design, construction and operation is expected to be refined as the project moves closer to the end of the environmental review and preliminary design phase. The HSR Authority envisions that high-speed rail service will be provided through Bakersfield by 2026.