US: California bullet train authority gets U.S. permission to handle its environmental reviews - PressFrom - US
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USCalifornia bullet train authority gets U.S. permission to handle its environmental reviews

07:35  27 july  2019
07:35  27 july  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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California High-Speed Rail (abbreviated CAHSR or CHSR) is a publicly funded high-speed rail system under construction in the U . S . state of California .

(Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority ). (CN) – Plagued by a spate of setbacks and a federal government hostile to its mission, the California High-Speed Rail Authority was However, the governor did promise to undertake environmental review for the entire stretch of track, a costly and

The California bullet train authority said earlier this year that federal bureaucrats have slow-walked approval of its environmental documents, contributing to delays in the project.

California bullet train authority gets U.S. permission to handle its environmental reviews© Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press One of the elevated sections of the high-speed rail under construction in Fresno, Calif.

But this week the Federal Railroad Administration, which oversees billions of dollars in grants for the project, assigned authority for such environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act to the state — giving the rail authority its long-sought status.

The approval comes after the Trump Administration delivered a sharp blow to the rail authority in May, terminating a $929-million grant that was issued in 2010. The FRA asserted that the state had violated its terms and was not making adequate progress.

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of the California High-Speed Rail Authority , as she drove down a brand-new stretch of Highway 99 that was rebuilt to make way for the train line just north of Public enthusiasm is dwindling. While 48 percent of respondents said they supported the project in a U . S .C./Dornslife/Los Angeles Times poll

The bullet train project’ s environmental review process is behind schedule. Earlier this year, the state’ s rail authority said it would not meet its In his letter, he tells Trump that getting waivers from federal environmental oversight has allowed California to “cut the regulatory burden on thousands of

The state responded with a suit against the action, asserting that federal officials have "disengaged" with the state and refused to communicate. Federal officials have also raised the prospect of attempting to claw back another $2.5-billion grant for the bullet train but have not taken action so far.

The so-called assignment under NEPA came in a 25-page memorandum of understanding signed by FRA chief Ronald Batory, who signed the letter terminating the 2010 grant.

The rail authority had been seeking the approval for several years, because federal laws changed and allowed state rail projects to get the same authority as highway projects, said rail authority Chief Financial Officer Brian Annis. He said it isn't clear what triggered the federal approval after such long delays.

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California California ' s high-speed rail board has approved a 2018 business plan that outlines the Kelly is asking lawmakers to extend cap-and-trade to 2050, beyond its current expiration date of Beyond financing, Gov. Jerry Brown has sought authority for the state to handle both California and

California wins approval to take responsibility for federal environmental review of its high-speed rail program. Thomas Richards, vice chair of the high-speed rail authority , believes construction of the transportation system will create opportunities in the short term and even bigger ones in the long term.

"This action is an important milestone for the high-speed program," authority Chief Executive Brian Kelly said in a statement. "We've lost valuable time waiting with the FRA's disengagement, so I am very thankful for this action and I am hopeful this step is the beginning of a more collaborative and cooperative relationship prospectively."

The assignment under NEPA is similar to the authority that the California Department of Transportation has for highway projects. The rail authority already has responsibility for performing reviews under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The California project is many years behind schedule, owing to a wide range of problems beyond the issue of environmental approvals. The authority has encountered serious problems acquiring property in the Central Valley, obtaining state permits and approving detailed engineering designs by its contractors.

The announcement by the FRA would allow it to move ahead with completing section-by-section environmental documents for the route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Until now, only two sections have received final approval, Bakersfield to Fresno and Fresno to Merced.

Under terms of its federal grant, the rail authority must complete those environmental reviews, which among other things determine the exact route the rail line will take, by 2022.

Woman injured after train hits car along Upstate road, driver charged.
A woman was injured Thursday morning when the car she was driving collided with a train in Spartanburg County, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The crash was first reported around 5:40 a.m. on Southport Road near Whitestone Glendale Road, just outside of the city. Troopers said the woman was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injures. Video from Sky 4 showed a car in a ditch near the stopped train. Troopers said the woman was charged with driving too fast for conditions, driving under suspension and operating a vehicle without insurance. The scene was cleared just before 7:30 a.m.

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