State officials have released a draft environmental review of the California high-speed rail segment that, by linking Bakersfield with northern Los Angeles County, would be the project’s most important section for Kern County.
The review provides a detailed look at the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s proposal for connecting Bakersfield and Palmdale with a series of elevated, underground and surface-level tracks through Edison, Tehachapi, Rosamond and Lancaster.
Still lacking, however, is a funding commitment that would pay for the section. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the review released Monday is that it moves the rail agency closer to meeting its 2022 federal deadline for finalizing environmental reviews of its proposed phase-one route between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Regional transportation planner Ahron Hakimi, executive director of the Kern Council of Governments, said the Bakersfield-Palmdale connection would “completely transform at least metropolitan Bakersfield.” But he also said it may be too early to get excited about the route.
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