The California High-Speed Rail Authority approved a final environmental impact report Thursday for a planned 14-mile stretch of the project between Burbank and Los Angeles, bringing the region closer to high-speed train service meant to one day connect the Los Angeles area with San Francisco.
With the board clearing the way for the Burbank to Los Angeles section, nearly 300 miles of the project’s 500 mile Phase 1 alignment from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim has been approved, according to the authority.
“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 selected route would use an existing rail corridor adjacent to the Los Angeles River from a new Hollywood Burbank Airport Station, into Glendale and to Los Angeles Union Station.
The board will consider approval for the San Jose to Merced and San Francisco to San Jose sections in April and June. The board hopes to complete the environmental process for the full Phase 1 system from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim by 2023.
There are 119 miles under construction at 35 active construction sites in the Central Valley, according to the authority, which added that more than 7,000 construction jobs have been created by the project.
The authority also touts the project for its potential to improve air quality, decrease congestion and increase mobility in California.