The state’s High-Speed Rail Authority board of directors is scheduled to consider moving forward Thursday with a recommended route that would bring the Palmdale-to-Anaheim portion of the California bullet train project through the Santa Clarita Valley.
The board meeting, scheduled in Burbank, is said to “mark an important milestone in advancing environmental clearance on all Southern California project sections, reaffirming our commitment to advance the entire Phase 1 program from San Francisco to Los Angeles/Anaheim,” said Micah Flores, public information officer with the High-Speed Rail Authority.
The preferred build alternative, called Refined State Route 14, has been recommended for the Palmdale-to-Burbank portion of the high-speed train system, which plans to transport passengers from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in less than three hours. Updated estimates price the cost of the rail line between $77 billion and $100 billion.
The recommended path would follow the 14 freeway in Santa Clarita entirely underground “where it crosses under and travels along the eastern boundary of the city for approximately 4,000 feet at depths ranging from approximately 400 to 500 feet deep,” according to Michelle Boehm, Southern California regional director with the state rail authority.
This route would mean that the train would emerge from the tunnel at the Vulcan mine site, next to Lang Station Road.
The Refined SR14 alternative was chosen over the two other options for multiple reasons including, having the shortest “long” tunnel and construction period, minimized environmental and community effects and tribal resources, and having the fewest residences potentially affected by operational noise impacts.
If the board concurs with the recommended route at the Thursday meeting, then the authority staff would present the Refined SR14 alternative to the Federal Railroad Administration.
If the FRA also concurs, then the environmental impact report and statement draft would identify the Refined SR14 path as the preferred alternative.
Flores said these concurrences do not constitute final approval of alignments or station locations.
“However, this action demonstrates progress by moving the environmental review process forward and toward the selection of alignments and station locations, which will improve program readiness by making selections shovel ready for when funding becomes available.”