Letter to HSR: Unrealistic EIR Schedule for HSR

March 10, 2015

Dear Michelle, Genoveva and other Interested Parties:

The scoping period for the planned environmental study period for the Palmdale to Burbank project section ended in mid-September 2014. At the series of community advisory committee meetings, including last night’s meeting at Sun Valley, it has been stated and is in print that the upcoming schedule or next steps for HSR includes:

  • June 2015 – CHSRA Board Meeting: SAA Report
  • June 2016 – Draft Environmental Document
  • June 2017 – Final Environmental Document

We believe that a 2-year schedule is unrealistic and misleading and should be corrected. In the interest of fair representations and greater transparency, we’d like to point out the following 4-year environmental review schedule for the nearby 710 freeway extension project, an approximate 4.2-4.9 mile extension that is not nearly as complex an undertaking as the 40+ mile Palmdale to Burbank project section of the high speed rail project:

  • May 2011 – EIR/EIS scoping process concluded
  • Thursday, March 5, 2015 – Draft Environmental Document Released (4 years later)
    • the draft document is 2,260 pages long
    • consulting firm CH2MHill was awarded a contract of $37.3 million to prepare the EIR/EIS (we do not have information about the final cost, which we’d guess wound up higher than awarded)
  • 120-day public review and comment period has been requested by various government entities and approved, with public hearings scheduled as well
  • Final Environmental Document – date TBD

Given the far more complex high speed rail project we find ourselves embroiled in at this time, we encourage you to revise your documents to give a more realistic time frame for the environmental review process so that stakeholders are aware of the following:

  • they will be involved in the painstaking environmental review process for far longer than the two year period CHSRA is indicating in its public presentations, thus, increasing the amount of personal, community, agency and government time and resources required, as well as the amount of time property values and other project study impacts will be affected
  • due to the added complexity of the high speed rail project, the associated costs of the environmental review process will be higher than those associated with the nearby 710 freeway extension project. As a result, we’d request you estimate the cost of or amount budgeted for the EIR/EIS in your documents and presentations and as the time for an EIR/EIS award approaches, for the particulars related to the firm selected and associated costs to be announced and part of all ongoing CHSRA presentations.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We would appreciate a prompt response to this request.

David J. DePinto

President, Shadow Hills Property Owners Association

Member, S.A.F.E. Coalition