Environmental Impact Statement for the California High Speed Rail System San Francisco to San Jose Section, CA, 28154-28157 [2016-10959]

Download as PDF 28154 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Docket Number FRA–2000–7257, Notice Number 8] Issued in Washington, DC on May 3, 2016. Patrick T. Warren, Deputy Associate Administrator for Safety Compliance and Program Implementation. Northeast Corridor Safety Advisory Committee; Notice of Meeting Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation. ACTION: Announcement of Northeast Corridor Safety Advisory Committee (NECSC) meeting. AGENCY: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES [FR Doc. 2016–10774 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration FRA announces the sixth meeting of the NECSC, a Federal Advisory Committee mandated by section 212 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA). The NECSC is composed of stakeholders operating on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and its purpose is to provide annual recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. NECSC meeting topics will include the following: Maintenance-of-way fatigue, presentations on the NEC’s future and NEC construction projects, Tier III passenger equipment rulemaking, the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), Amtrak 160 mph waiver requests, split rail derails on track leading to the NEC, and a general discussion of safety issues. DATES: The NECSC meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, and will adjourn by 4:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The NECSC meeting will be held at the National Housing Center located at 1201 15th Street NW., Washington, DC 20005. The meeting is open to the public on a first-come, firstserved basis and is accessible to individuals with disabilities. Sign and oral interpretation can be made available if requested 10 calendar days before the meeting. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Larry Woolverton, RSAC Administrative Officer/Coordinator, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Mailstop 25, Washington, DC 20590, (202) 493–6212; or Mr. Robert C. Lauby, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety and Chief Safety Officer, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Mailstop 25, Washington, DC 20590, (202) 493–6474. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NECSC is mandated by a statutory provision in section 212 of the PRIIA (codified at 49 U.S.C. 24905(f)). The NECSC is chartered by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and is an official Federal Advisory Committee SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. title 5—Appendix. Environmental Impact Statement for the California High Speed Rail System San Francisco to San Jose Section, CA Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). AGENCY: Through this NOI, FRA announces its intent to jointly prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) for the San Francisco to San Jose Section of the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) System, Blended System Project (Blended System Project or Project). FRA invites the public and all interested parties to provide comments on the scope of the EIR/EIS, including the proposed purpose and need, the alternatives to consider, potential environmental impacts of concern, and methodologies for analysis of impacts. Through this NOI, FRA also rescinds its December 2008 NOI for the San Francisco to San Jose Section. FRA and the Authority will develop the EIR/EIS in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). FRA and the Authority will hold scoping meetings and outreach activities as part of the NEPA/CEQA process. Federal cooperating agencies for the EIR/EIS are the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). DATES: Written comments on the scope of the San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS must be provided to the Authority by June 8, 2016. Public scoping meetings are scheduled in May 2016: FRA and the Authority will hold the scoping meetings between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the following dates: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00109 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • San Francisco: Monday, May 23, 2016. • San Mateo: Tuesday, May 24, 2016. • Mountain View: Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The Authority will make scoping materials and information concerning the scoping meetings available on the Authority’s Web site: http://hsr.ca.gov/ Programs/Statewide_Rail_ Modernization/project_sections/ sanfrancisco_sanjose.html. ADDRESSES: You can send written comments on the scope to Mr. Mark McLoughlin, Director of Environmental Services, Attention: San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS, California High-Speed Rail Authority, 770 L Street, Suite 1160, Sacramento, CA 95814, or via email with subject line ‘‘San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS’’ to: comments@hsr.ca.gov. You may provide comments orally or in writing at scoping meetings. FRA and the Authority will hold the scoping meetings between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the following locations: • San Francisco: University of California, San Francisco Mission Bay, 11500 Owens Street, San Francisco, CA 94158. • San Mateo: San Mateo Marriott, 1770 South Amphlett Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94402. • Mountain View: SFV Lodge, 361 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Stephanie Perez, Environmental Protection Specialist, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., (Mail Stop 20), Washington, DC 20590; Telephone: (202) 493–0388, email: stephanie.perez@dot.gov, or Mr. Guy Preston, Regional Delivery Manager, California High Speed Rail Authority, 100 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113, Telephone: (408) 277–1091 or sanfrancisco_sanjose@hsr.ca.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FRA is an operating administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is responsible for overseeing the safety of railroad operations, including the safety of any proposed high-speed ground transportation system. FRA is also authorized to provide, subject to appropriations, funding for high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects and is also authorized to provide loans and other financial support for railroad investments. FRA is conducting this review under NEPA because it may provide funding or financing for this project in the future. STB and USACE are Federal cooperating agencies on the EIS. STB has approval authority under E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices 49 U.S.C. 10901 over the construction and operation of the proposed California HSR System. USACE has jurisdiction under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The Authority was established in 1996 and is authorized and directed by statute to undertake the planning and development of a proposed statewide HSR network fully coordinated with other public transportation services. In 2005, the Authority and FRA completed a Final Program EIR/EIS for the Proposed California HSR System (Statewide Program EIR/EIS), as the first phase of a tiered environmental review process. The Statewide Program EIR/EIS analyzed a No Project/No Action Alternative; a Modal Alternative involving expanding freeways, airports, and conventional rail systems; and a HSR alternative using electric propulsion and steel-wheel-on-steel-rail vehicles capable of operating speeds of 220 mph on fully grade separated rail alignments with state-of-the-art safety, signaling, and communication systems. The Authority certified the Statewide Program EIR under CEQA and approved the proposed HSR System, and FRA issued a Record of Decision under NEPA on the Statewide Program EIS. In approving the Statewide Program EIR/EIS, FRA and the Authority selected the HSR Alternative for intercity travel in California between the major metropolitan centers of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area in the north, through the Central Valley, to Los Angeles and San Diego in the south. The Authority and FRA also selected certain corridors/general alignments and general station locations for further study; committed to mitigation strategies and design practices; and specified further measures to guide the development of the HSR system at the site-specific project level of environmental review to avoid and minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. FRA and the Authority did not select corridors or station locations between the Central Valley and the Bay Area in 2005. Rather, they decided to prepare a second program EIR/EIS for that area. In 2008, the Authority and FRA further evaluated alignments and station locations within the broad corridor between and including the Altamont Pass and the Pacheco Pass to connect the Bay Area and Central Valley portions of the HSR system in the Bay Area to the Central Valley High-Speed Train Program EIR/EIS. Based on that EIR/EIS, the Authority and FRA selected the Pacheco Pass—San Francisco and San Jose termini network alternative, including corridor alignments and VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 station location options. The selected corridor alignment uses the Caltrain rail right-of-way, between San Francisco and San Jose along the San Francisco Peninsula, and the Pacheco Pass via Henry Miller Road, between San Jose and the Central Valley. In December 2008, the Authority and FRA respectively issued a notice of preparation and notice of intent to prepare an EIR/EIS for the project-level San Francisco to San Jose Section of the proposed California HSR System. In 2009, the Authority and FRA completed project scoping and provided the public with alternatives screening documents. These alternatives screening documents were for a rail corridor based on an entirely grade separated a four-track system between San Francisco and San Jose where HSR would share tracks with Caltrain express commuter trains. Communities along the Caltrain corridor expressed concerns with this proposal because of the perceived magnitude of impacts to environmental and community resources. In response to these concerns, the Authority suspended further work on the EIR/EIS in mid-2011 to consider blending the HSR and Caltrain operations within a smaller project footprint. In November 2011, the Authority proposed blended operations for the HSR section between San Francisco and San Jose, which would still provide HSR and Caltrain service between the two cities without requiring a four-track system for the Project. The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will describe the Blended System Project in detail, identify sitespecific environmental impacts from construction, operation, and maintenance of the Blended System Project; identify specific mitigation measures to address those impacts; and incorporate appropriate design practices to avoid and minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. The EIR/EIS will describe the site characteristics, size, nature, and timing of the proposed action as a basis for determining whether the impacts are potentially significant and whether impacts can be avoided, minimized, or mitigated. The Authority will provide information and documents regarding this EIR/EIS on the Authority’s Web site: http:// www.hsr.ca.gov. The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will tier from, and build upon, the Statewide Program EIR/EIS and the Bay Area to Central Valley HSR Program EIR/EIS consistent with Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, (40 CFR 1508.28) and State CEQA Guidelines (14 California Code of Regulations 15168(b)). PO 00000 Frm 00110 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28155 In addition to the NEPA and CEQA process, the Authority is required by law to publish a Business Plan, updated every two years, which includes a description of service type, chronology of statewide construction, estimate of capital costs per segment, operating and maintenance costs, environmental review schedule, and discussion of public and private funding availability. The Draft 2016 Business Plan, which the Authority released in February, describes a phased implementation of the statewide HSR system. The Draft 2016 Plan prioritizes construction between San Jose and the Central Valley, but also emphasizes the importance of extending HSR service from San Francisco to San Jose as soon as possible. Purpose and Need The purpose of the proposed HSR system is to provide a new mode of high-speed intercity travel that would link major metropolitan areas of the state; interface with international airports, mass transit, and highways; and provide added capacity to meet increases in intercity travel demand in California in a manner sensitive to and protective of California’s unique natural resources. The need for a HSR system is directly related to the expected growth in population, and increases in intercity travel demand in California over the next twenty years and beyond. With the growth in travel demand, there will be an increase in travel delays arising from the growing congestion on California’s highways and at airports. In addition, there will be negative effects on the economy, quality of life, and air quality in and around California’s metropolitan areas from a transportation system that will become less reliable as travel demand increases. The intercity highway system, commercial airports, and conventional passenger rail serving the intercity travel market are currently operating at or near capacity, and will require large public investments for maintenance and expansion to meet existing demand and future growth. The proposed HSR System is designed to address some of the social, economic, and environmental problems associated with transportation congestion in California. The San Francisco to San Jose Section meets this purpose and need by: • Connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to the rest of the statewide HSR system, including the Central Valley and Southern California; • Incorporating HSR into the intermodal hubs at San Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose, thereby providing interfaces with airports (San E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1 28156 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices Francisco International Airport and Norman J. Mineta San Jose International Airport), mass transit (BART, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, Amtrak, and light-rail and bus services), and highways, resulting in local and regional transportation hubs; • Serving a large base of riders in the densely populated San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas; and • Reaching station locations with existing and planned transit oriented development potential. Alternatives The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will consider a No Action or No Project Alternative and one or more HSR Alternatives for the San Francisco to San Jose corridor. The San Francisco to San Jose Section of the HSR system would connect to the San Jose to Merced Section at Diridon Station, which would extend HSR service from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley and Southern California. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES No Action Alternative The No Action Alternative (No Project or No Build) represents conditions in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor as they exist in 2016, and as they would exist in future years based on projected growth, programmed and funded improvements to the intercity transportation system, and other reasonably foreseeable projects through the implementation of Phase 1 operations in 2029, and a future year of operation in 2040. The No Action alternative takes into account the following sources of information: State Transportation Improvement Program; Regional Transportation Plans for all modes of travel; airport plans; intercity passenger rail plans; and city and county plans. HSR Blended System Alternative(s) The Blended System Project would follow the Caltrain right-of-way from San Francisco to San Jose. It would utilize existing and in-progress infrastructure Caltrain developed for its electrification project, but require construction in addition to electrification. The Blended System Project is anticipated to include the following, subject to continued planning and engineering following the scoping/ outreach process: New and/or Upgraded Infrastructure • Track improvements to support higher speeds, including upgrades of tracks, trackbeds, ties, interlockings, and possible curve straightening; • At least one passing track, with potential alternative locations for the passing track; VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 • One terminal storage maintenance facility, with potential alternative locations; • Improvements to existing bridges necessary to accommodate mixed traffic; • Potential grade separations necessary to support blended operations; and • Installation of quad gates at remaining grade crossings. Proposed Operations • High-speed rail vehicles operating over mostly the same tracks between San Francisco and San Jose; • Speeds of up to 110 miles per hour; and • Operations plan that would allow for up to 4 HSR vehicles per hour/per direction in the peak period. Upgrades to Existing Stations • Raised and straightened platforms, platform screens (or other safety features) and passenger facilities at 4th & King, Millbrae and Diridon stations. Transbay Transit Center (TTC) and Downtown Extension DTX projects • The Authority proposes its Blended System Project will reach the TTC in San Francisco via the planned 1.3-mile extension of passenger rail track from the current terminus at the Caltrain 4th and King station. • The Transbay Joint Powers Authority is the state lead agency for both projects, which have been the subject of separate environmental review. • The TTC is currently under construction. The DTX is not yet under construction. • Both projects will be addressed in the San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS. During the Programmatic review phase, FRA and the Authority selected the Transbay Transit Center as the station location in the city of San Francisco. However, the Authority anticipates that the 4th and King Station would operate as an interim station until completion of the Transbay Transit Center which the Transbay Joint Powers Authority is constructing and funding. Other HSR stations would be located in the city of Millbrae at the existing Millbrae BART/ Caltrain Station, and in the city of San Jose at the existing Diridon Station. FRA and Authority selected these locations through the Bay Area to Central Valley HSR Final Program EIR/EIS. Probable Effects The EIR/EIS will evaluate and document the effects of the proposed project on the physical, human, and natural environment. FRA and the Authority will continue the tiered PO 00000 Frm 00111 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 evaluation of all potentially significant environmental, social, and economic impacts of the construction and operation of the HSR system. The San Francisco to San Jose EIR/EIS will address appropriate resource areas including: Transportation, including impacts on existing passenger and freight rail tenants; safety and security; land use and zoning; land acquisition, displacements, and relocations; cumulative and secondary impacts; cultural resource impacts, including impacts on historical and archaeological resources; parklands/recreation areas; neighborhood compatibility and environmental justice; geology and paleontology impacts; natural resource impacts including air quality, wetlands, water resources, noise and vibration, energy, wildlife and ecosystems, including endangered species, energy and hazardous materials. The EIR/EIS will also identify and evaluate measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts. The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will be prepared consistent with FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999) and the CEQ’s regulations implementing NEPA at 40 CFR parts 1500–1508. The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS also will address, as necessary, other applicable statutes, regulations, and executive orders, including the Clean Air Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) of 1966, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice. FRA funding or approval of the San Francisco to San Jose Section would be a Federal undertaking with the potential to affect historic properties. As such, it is subject to the requirements of Section 106. Consistent with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) regulations implementing Section 106, FRA intends to coordinate compliance with Section 106 of this Act with the preparation of the San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS, beginning with the identification of consulting parties in a manner consistent with the standards set out in 36 CFR 800.8. Under the Programmatic Agreement among FRA, ACHP, the California State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Authority, FRA and the Authority will conduct a phased review of effects on historic properties consistent with 36 CFR 800.4(b)(2). FRA invites the public and interested parties to provide comments on the potential effects of the proposed alternatives on historic properties within the San Francisco to San Jose Section. In E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 89 / Monday, May 9, 2016 / Notices response to this NOI, a member of the public or other interested party may also request to participate in the Section 106 process as a consulting party under 36 CFR part 800. Scoping and Comments FRA encourages broad participation in the EIS process during scoping and review of the resulting environmental documents. FRA invites Native American Tribes, interested agencies, and the public at large to participate in the scoping process to ensure the EIR/ EIS addresses the full range of issues related to the proposed action and reasonable alternatives, and that all significant issues are identified. FRA requests that any public agency having jurisdiction over an aspect of the Project identify the applicable permit and environmental review requirements of the agency and the scope and content of the environmental information germane to the agency’s jurisdiction over the Project. Public agencies are requested to advise FRA if they anticipate taking a major action in connection with the proposed project and if they wish to participate as a cooperating agency for the San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS. FRA and the Authority have scheduled public scoping meetings which are an important component of the scoping process for both the State and Federal environmental review. The Authority will advertise the scoping meetings described in this NOI locally and be included with any additional public notification. Issued in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2016. Jamie Rennert, Director, Office of Program Delivery. [FR Doc. 2016–10959 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration [FTA Docket No. 2016–0021] Notice of Request for the Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration, mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES DOT. ACTION: Notice of request for comments. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to request the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to renew the following information collection: SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:44 May 06, 2016 Jkt 238001 49 U.S.C. Section 5337 State of Good Repair Program OMB Control No.: 2132–0577. 49 U.S.C. Section 5337, the State of Good Repair Grants Program was authorized by Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP–21). It was reauthorized under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act Section 3015. This program authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to make grants to designated recipients to maintain, replace, and rehabilitate high intensity fixed guideway systems and high intensity motorbus systems. Eligible recipients include state and local government authorities in urbanized areas with high intensity fixed guideway systems and/or high intensity motorbus systems operating for at least seven years. Projects are funded at 80 percent federal with a 20 percent local match requirement by statute. FTA will apportion funds to designated recipients. The designated recipients will then allocate funds as appropriate to recipients that are public entities in the urbanized areas. FTA can make grants to direct recipients after suballocation of funds. Recipients apply for grants electronically, and FTA collects milestone and financial status reports from designated recipients on a quarterly basis. The information submitted ensures FTA’s compliance with applicable federal laws. DATES: Comments must be submitted before July 8, 2016. ADDRESSES: To ensure that your comments are not entered more than once into the docket, submit comments identified by the docket number by only one of the following methods: 1. Web site: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the U.S. Government electronic docket site. (Note: The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) electronic docket is no longer accepting electronic comments.) All electronic submissions must be made to the U.S. Government electronic docket site at www.regulations.gov. Commenters should follow the directions below for mailed and hand-delivered comments. 2. Fax: 202–493–2251. 3. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M–30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. 4. Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M–30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., PO 00000 Frm 00112 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 28157 Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Instructions: You must include the agency name and docket number for this notice at the beginning of your comments. Submit two copies of your comments if you submit them by mail. For confirmation that FTA has received your comments, include a selfaddressed stamped postcard. Note that all comments received, including any personal information, will be posted and will be available to Internet users, without change, to www.regulations.gov. You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477), or you may visit www.regulations.gov. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents and comments received, go to www.regulations.gov at any time. Background documents and comments received may also be viewed at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Docket Operations, M–30, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Mr. Eric Hu, Office of Program Management (202) 366–0870, or email: Eric.Hu@ dot.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Interested parties are invited to send comments regarding any aspect of this information collection, including: (1) The necessity and utility of the information collection for the proper performance of the functions of the FTA; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) ways to minimize the collection burden without reducing the quality of the collected information. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection. Respondents: State and local governments. Estimated Annual Burden on Respondents: 58 hours per submission. Estimated Total Annual Burden: 9,120 hours. Frequency: Annual. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: William Hyre, Deputy Associate Administrator for Administration. [FR Doc. 2016–10837 Filed 5–6–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P E:\FR\FM\09MYN1.SGM 09MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 89 (Monday, May 9, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28154-28157]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-10959]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration


Environmental Impact Statement for the California High Speed Rail 
System San Francisco to San Jose Section, CA

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Through this NOI, FRA announces its intent to jointly prepare 
an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) for the 
San Francisco to San Jose Section of the California High-Speed Rail 
(HSR) System, Blended System Project (Blended System Project or 
Project). FRA invites the public and all interested parties to provide 
comments on the scope of the EIR/EIS, including the proposed purpose 
and need, the alternatives to consider, potential environmental impacts 
of concern, and methodologies for analysis of impacts. Through this 
NOI, FRA also rescinds its December 2008 NOI for the San Francisco to 
San Jose Section.
    FRA and the Authority will develop the EIR/EIS in compliance with 
the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). FRA and the Authority will 
hold scoping meetings and outreach activities as part of the NEPA/CEQA 
process. Federal cooperating agencies for the EIR/EIS are the Surface 
Transportation Board (STB) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE).

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the San Francisco to San Jose 
Section EIR/EIS must be provided to the Authority by June 8, 2016.
    Public scoping meetings are scheduled in May 2016: FRA and the 
Authority will hold the scoping meetings between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 
p.m. at the following dates:
     San Francisco: Monday, May 23, 2016.
     San Mateo: Tuesday, May 24, 2016.
     Mountain View: Wednesday, May 25, 2016.
    The Authority will make scoping materials and information 
concerning the scoping meetings available on the Authority's Web site: 
http://hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Statewide_Rail_Modernization/project_sections/sanfrancisco_sanjose.html.

ADDRESSES: You can send written comments on the scope to Mr. Mark 
McLoughlin, Director of Environmental Services, Attention: San 
Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS, California High-Speed Rail 
Authority, 770 L Street, Suite 1160, Sacramento, CA 95814, or via email 
with subject line ``San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS'' to: 
comments@hsr.ca.gov.
    You may provide comments orally or in writing at scoping meetings. 
FRA and the Authority will hold the scoping meetings between 5:00 p.m. 
and 8:00 p.m. at the following locations:
     San Francisco: University of California, San Francisco 
Mission Bay, 11500 Owens Street, San Francisco, CA 94158.
     San Mateo: San Mateo Marriott, 1770 South Amphlett 
Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94402.
     Mountain View: SFV Lodge, 361 Villa Street, Mountain View, 
CA 94041.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Stephanie Perez, Environmental 
Protection Specialist, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., (Mail Stop 20), Washington, 
DC 20590; Telephone: (202) 493-0388, email: stephanie.perez@dot.gov, or 
Mr. Guy Preston, Regional Delivery Manager, California High Speed Rail 
Authority, 100 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, CA 95113, Telephone: 
(408) 277-1091 or sanfrancisco_sanjose@hsr.ca.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FRA is an operating administration of the 
U.S. Department of Transportation and is responsible for overseeing the 
safety of railroad operations, including the safety of any proposed 
high-speed ground transportation system. FRA is also authorized to 
provide, subject to appropriations, funding for high-speed and 
intercity passenger rail projects and is also authorized to provide 
loans and other financial support for railroad investments. FRA is 
conducting this review under NEPA because it may provide funding or 
financing for this project in the future. STB and USACE are Federal 
cooperating agencies on the EIS. STB has approval authority under

[[Page 28155]]

49 U.S.C. 10901 over the construction and operation of the proposed 
California HSR System. USACE has jurisdiction under Section 404 of the 
Clean Water Act.
    The Authority was established in 1996 and is authorized and 
directed by statute to undertake the planning and development of a 
proposed statewide HSR network fully coordinated with other public 
transportation services. In 2005, the Authority and FRA completed a 
Final Program EIR/EIS for the Proposed California HSR System (Statewide 
Program EIR/EIS), as the first phase of a tiered environmental review 
process. The Statewide Program EIR/EIS analyzed a No Project/No Action 
Alternative; a Modal Alternative involving expanding freeways, 
airports, and conventional rail systems; and a HSR alternative using 
electric propulsion and steel-wheel-on-steel-rail vehicles capable of 
operating speeds of 220 mph on fully grade separated rail alignments 
with state-of-the-art safety, signaling, and communication systems. The 
Authority certified the Statewide Program EIR under CEQA and approved 
the proposed HSR System, and FRA issued a Record of Decision under NEPA 
on the Statewide Program EIS.
    In approving the Statewide Program EIR/EIS, FRA and the Authority 
selected the HSR Alternative for intercity travel in California between 
the major metropolitan centers of Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay 
Area in the north, through the Central Valley, to Los Angeles and San 
Diego in the south. The Authority and FRA also selected certain 
corridors/general alignments and general station locations for further 
study; committed to mitigation strategies and design practices; and 
specified further measures to guide the development of the HSR system 
at the site-specific project level of environmental review to avoid and 
minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. FRA and the Authority 
did not select corridors or station locations between the Central 
Valley and the Bay Area in 2005. Rather, they decided to prepare a 
second program EIR/EIS for that area.
    In 2008, the Authority and FRA further evaluated alignments and 
station locations within the broad corridor between and including the 
Altamont Pass and the Pacheco Pass to connect the Bay Area and Central 
Valley portions of the HSR system in the Bay Area to the Central Valley 
High-Speed Train Program EIR/EIS. Based on that EIR/EIS, the Authority 
and FRA selected the Pacheco Pass--San Francisco and San Jose termini 
network alternative, including corridor alignments and station location 
options. The selected corridor alignment uses the Caltrain rail right-
of-way, between San Francisco and San Jose along the San Francisco 
Peninsula, and the Pacheco Pass via Henry Miller Road, between San Jose 
and the Central Valley.
    In December 2008, the Authority and FRA respectively issued a 
notice of preparation and notice of intent to prepare an EIR/EIS for 
the project-level San Francisco to San Jose Section of the proposed 
California HSR System. In 2009, the Authority and FRA completed project 
scoping and provided the public with alternatives screening documents. 
These alternatives screening documents were for a rail corridor based 
on an entirely grade separated a four-track system between San 
Francisco and San Jose where HSR would share tracks with Caltrain 
express commuter trains. Communities along the Caltrain corridor 
expressed concerns with this proposal because of the perceived 
magnitude of impacts to environmental and community resources. In 
response to these concerns, the Authority suspended further work on the 
EIR/EIS in mid-2011 to consider blending the HSR and Caltrain 
operations within a smaller project footprint. In November 2011, the 
Authority proposed blended operations for the HSR section between San 
Francisco and San Jose, which would still provide HSR and Caltrain 
service between the two cities without requiring a four-track system 
for the Project.
    The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will describe the 
Blended System Project in detail, identify site-specific environmental 
impacts from construction, operation, and maintenance of the Blended 
System Project; identify specific mitigation measures to address those 
impacts; and incorporate appropriate design practices to avoid and 
minimize potential adverse environmental impacts. The EIR/EIS will 
describe the site characteristics, size, nature, and timing of the 
proposed action as a basis for determining whether the impacts are 
potentially significant and whether impacts can be avoided, minimized, 
or mitigated. The Authority will provide information and documents 
regarding this EIR/EIS on the Authority's Web site: http://www.hsr.ca.gov.
    The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will tier from, and 
build upon, the Statewide Program EIR/EIS and the Bay Area to Central 
Valley HSR Program EIR/EIS consistent with Council on Environmental 
Quality (CEQ) regulations, (40 CFR 1508.28) and State CEQA Guidelines 
(14 California Code of Regulations 15168(b)).
    In addition to the NEPA and CEQA process, the Authority is required 
by law to publish a Business Plan, updated every two years, which 
includes a description of service type, chronology of statewide 
construction, estimate of capital costs per segment, operating and 
maintenance costs, environmental review schedule, and discussion of 
public and private funding availability. The Draft 2016 Business Plan, 
which the Authority released in February, describes a phased 
implementation of the statewide HSR system. The Draft 2016 Plan 
prioritizes construction between San Jose and the Central Valley, but 
also emphasizes the importance of extending HSR service from San 
Francisco to San Jose as soon as possible.

Purpose and Need

    The purpose of the proposed HSR system is to provide a new mode of 
high-speed intercity travel that would link major metropolitan areas of 
the state; interface with international airports, mass transit, and 
highways; and provide added capacity to meet increases in intercity 
travel demand in California in a manner sensitive to and protective of 
California's unique natural resources. The need for a HSR system is 
directly related to the expected growth in population, and increases in 
intercity travel demand in California over the next twenty years and 
beyond. With the growth in travel demand, there will be an increase in 
travel delays arising from the growing congestion on California's 
highways and at airports. In addition, there will be negative effects 
on the economy, quality of life, and air quality in and around 
California's metropolitan areas from a transportation system that will 
become less reliable as travel demand increases. The intercity highway 
system, commercial airports, and conventional passenger rail serving 
the intercity travel market are currently operating at or near 
capacity, and will require large public investments for maintenance and 
expansion to meet existing demand and future growth. The proposed HSR 
System is designed to address some of the social, economic, and 
environmental problems associated with transportation congestion in 
California.
    The San Francisco to San Jose Section meets this purpose and need 
by:
     Connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to the rest of the 
statewide HSR system, including the Central Valley and Southern 
California;
     Incorporating HSR into the intermodal hubs at San 
Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose, thereby providing interfaces with 
airports (San

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Francisco International Airport and Norman J. Mineta San Jose 
International Airport), mass transit (BART, Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, 
Amtrak, and light-rail and bus services), and highways, resulting in 
local and regional transportation hubs;
     Serving a large base of riders in the densely populated 
San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas; and
     Reaching station locations with existing and planned 
transit oriented development potential.

Alternatives

    The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will consider a No 
Action or No Project Alternative and one or more HSR Alternatives for 
the San Francisco to San Jose corridor. The San Francisco to San Jose 
Section of the HSR system would connect to the San Jose to Merced 
Section at Diridon Station, which would extend HSR service from the San 
Francisco Bay Area to the Central Valley and Southern California.

No Action Alternative

    The No Action Alternative (No Project or No Build) represents 
conditions in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor as they exist in 
2016, and as they would exist in future years based on projected 
growth, programmed and funded improvements to the intercity 
transportation system, and other reasonably foreseeable projects 
through the implementation of Phase 1 operations in 2029, and a future 
year of operation in 2040. The No Action alternative takes into account 
the following sources of information: State Transportation Improvement 
Program; Regional Transportation Plans for all modes of travel; airport 
plans; intercity passenger rail plans; and city and county plans.

HSR Blended System Alternative(s)

    The Blended System Project would follow the Caltrain right-of-way 
from San Francisco to San Jose. It would utilize existing and in-
progress infrastructure Caltrain developed for its electrification 
project, but require construction in addition to electrification. The 
Blended System Project is anticipated to include the following, subject 
to continued planning and engineering following the scoping/outreach 
process:

New and/or Upgraded Infrastructure

     Track improvements to support higher speeds, including 
upgrades of tracks, trackbeds, ties, interlockings, and possible curve 
straightening;
     At least one passing track, with potential alternative 
locations for the passing track;
     One terminal storage maintenance facility, with potential 
alternative locations;
     Improvements to existing bridges necessary to accommodate 
mixed traffic;
     Potential grade separations necessary to support blended 
operations; and
     Installation of quad gates at remaining grade crossings.

Proposed Operations

     High-speed rail vehicles operating over mostly the same 
tracks between San Francisco and San Jose;
     Speeds of up to 110 miles per hour; and
     Operations plan that would allow for up to 4 HSR vehicles 
per hour/per direction in the peak period.

Upgrades to Existing Stations

     Raised and straightened platforms, platform screens (or 
other safety features) and passenger facilities at 4th & King, Millbrae 
and Diridon stations.

Transbay Transit Center (TTC) and Downtown Extension DTX projects

     The Authority proposes its Blended System Project will 
reach the TTC in San Francisco via the planned 1.3-mile extension of 
passenger rail track from the current terminus at the Caltrain 4th and 
King station.
     The Transbay Joint Powers Authority is the state lead 
agency for both projects, which have been the subject of separate 
environmental review.
     The TTC is currently under construction. The DTX is not 
yet under construction.
     Both projects will be addressed in the San Francisco to 
San Jose Section EIR/EIS.

During the Programmatic review phase, FRA and the Authority selected 
the Transbay Transit Center as the station location in the city of San 
Francisco. However, the Authority anticipates that the 4th and King 
Station would operate as an interim station until completion of the 
Transbay Transit Center which the Transbay Joint Powers Authority is 
constructing and funding. Other HSR stations would be located in the 
city of Millbrae at the existing Millbrae BART/Caltrain Station, and in 
the city of San Jose at the existing Diridon Station. FRA and Authority 
selected these locations through the Bay Area to Central Valley HSR 
Final Program EIR/EIS.

Probable Effects

    The EIR/EIS will evaluate and document the effects of the proposed 
project on the physical, human, and natural environment. FRA and the 
Authority will continue the tiered evaluation of all potentially 
significant environmental, social, and economic impacts of the 
construction and operation of the HSR system. The San Francisco to San 
Jose EIR/EIS will address appropriate resource areas including: 
Transportation, including impacts on existing passenger and freight 
rail tenants; safety and security; land use and zoning; land 
acquisition, displacements, and relocations; cumulative and secondary 
impacts; cultural resource impacts, including impacts on historical and 
archaeological resources; parklands/recreation areas; neighborhood 
compatibility and environmental justice; geology and paleontology 
impacts; natural resource impacts including air quality, wetlands, 
water resources, noise and vibration, energy, wildlife and ecosystems, 
including endangered species, energy and hazardous materials. The EIR/
EIS will also identify and evaluate measures to avoid, minimize, and 
mitigate adverse impacts.
    The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS will be prepared 
consistent with FRA's Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts 
(64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999) and the CEQ's regulations implementing NEPA 
at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508. The San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/
EIS also will address, as necessary, other applicable statutes, 
regulations, and executive orders, including the Clean Air Act, Section 
106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) of 1966, 
Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, the Endangered 
Species Act, and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice.
    FRA funding or approval of the San Francisco to San Jose Section 
would be a Federal undertaking with the potential to affect historic 
properties. As such, it is subject to the requirements of Section 106. 
Consistent with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP) 
regulations implementing Section 106, FRA intends to coordinate 
compliance with Section 106 of this Act with the preparation of the San 
Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS, beginning with the 
identification of consulting parties in a manner consistent with the 
standards set out in 36 CFR 800.8. Under the Programmatic Agreement 
among FRA, ACHP, the California State Historic Preservation Officer, 
and the Authority, FRA and the Authority will conduct a phased review 
of effects on historic properties consistent with 36 CFR 800.4(b)(2). 
FRA invites the public and interested parties to provide comments on 
the potential effects of the proposed alternatives on historic 
properties within the San Francisco to San Jose Section. In

[[Page 28157]]

response to this NOI, a member of the public or other interested party 
may also request to participate in the Section 106 process as a 
consulting party under 36 CFR part 800.

Scoping and Comments

    FRA encourages broad participation in the EIS process during 
scoping and review of the resulting environmental documents. FRA 
invites Native American Tribes, interested agencies, and the public at 
large to participate in the scoping process to ensure the EIR/EIS 
addresses the full range of issues related to the proposed action and 
reasonable alternatives, and that all significant issues are 
identified. FRA requests that any public agency having jurisdiction 
over an aspect of the Project identify the applicable permit and 
environmental review requirements of the agency and the scope and 
content of the environmental information germane to the agency's 
jurisdiction over the Project. Public agencies are requested to advise 
FRA if they anticipate taking a major action in connection with the 
proposed project and if they wish to participate as a cooperating 
agency for the San Francisco to San Jose Section EIR/EIS.
    FRA and the Authority have scheduled public scoping meetings which 
are an important component of the scoping process for both the State 
and Federal environmental review. The Authority will advertise the 
scoping meetings described in this NOI locally and be included with any 
additional public notification.

     Issued in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2016.
Jamie Rennert,
Director, Office of Program Delivery.
[FR Doc. 2016-10959 Filed 5-6-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-06-P