High-Speed Rail Authority Releases Preferred Hybrid Route

After reviewing extensive public comments and feedback from Central Valley residents and businesses, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released a staff report today recommending the “Hybrid Alternative” as the preferred route for the Merced to Fresno Section.

The “Merced to Fresno Staff Recommendation: Preferred Alternative” report is available on the Authority’s website at: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/Merced_-_Fresno.aspx.

Hybrid Alternative

The Hybrid Alternative generally parallels the Union Pacific Rail Road and State Route 99 between Merced and Fresno. To avoid impacts to downtown Madera, this route travels east to be adjacent to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) corridor. The station locations proposed along this route include downtown Merced between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and G Street and downtown Fresno at Mariposa Street.

It is estimated that the Union Pacific Rail Road / State Route 99 would have cost $1 billion more than the Hybrid Alternative and the BNSF route would have cost $500 million more.

Next Steps – December 13, 2011 Board Meeting

The Board of Directors will receive a presentation from Authority staff on this recommendation at the regularly scheduled December 13, 2011 meeting in Merced and are expected to take action. The Authority has recommended that this route be identified as the preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), which is now being prepared and scheduled for release in early 2012. There will be an opportunity for public comment at the board meeting and also following the release of the Final EIR/EIS.

Please feel free to contact the Merced to Fresno team directly if you have questions or need assistance. Contact the Merced to Fresno team at (415) 955-2938 or email Merced_Fresno@hsr.ca.gov

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