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Environmental Impact Statement; Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, California; Notice of Intent

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Environmental Impact Statement; Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, California; Notice of Intent

Matt Schmitz
Federal Highway Administration
August 1, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 148 (Thursday, August 1, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46676-46677]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18515]



[[Page 46676]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Environmental Impact Statement; Los Angeles and San Bernardino 
Counties, California; Notice of Intent

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Revised Notice of Intent (NOI).

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SUMMARY: The FHWA, on behalf of the California Department of 
Transportation (Caltrans), is issuing this Revised Notice of Intent to 
inform the public of changes to the proposed High Desert Corridor 
project in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, California. The 
Federal Railroad Administration has also been added as a Cooperating 
Agency.

DATES: Public scoping meetings were previously conducted as follows:
    (1) Palmdale, CA on September 27, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    (2) Lancaster, CA on September 28, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    (3) Apple Valley, CA on September 29, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    (4) Victorville, CA on September 30, 2010, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Meetings have also been held at various locations along the 
proposed corridor during April 2011 and January, February and December 
2012 to keep the public, agencies, and elected officials appraised of 
the status of the project, including the modification of two project 
alternatives to include high speed rail. Additional meetings will be 
held in July of 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ronald Kosinski, Deputy District 
Director, California Department of Transportation District 7 Division 
of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street, Mail Stop 16A, Los 
Angeles, CA 90012.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Effective July 1, 2007, the FHWA assigned, 
and Caltrans assumed, environmental responsibilities for these projects 
pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327. Caltrans, as the delegated National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) lead agency, initiated studies on the 
High Desert Corridor project. The NOI was published in the Federal 
Register on October 12, 2007 (Vol. 72, No. 197) and a revised NOI was 
published on September 24, 2010 (Vol. 75, No. 185).
    A draft Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared for a 
proposal to construct the High Desert Corridor, a new freeway/
expressway, and possible toll way, extending approximately 63 miles 
between SR-14 in Los Angeles County and SR-18 in San Bernardino County. 
On March 22, 2012, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation 
Authority (Metro) Board of Directors took action to recognize this 
project as a Strategic Multipurpose Corridor, which provides mobility, 
as well as economic and environmental benefits. To satisfy this 
directive, the proposed corridor is being evaluated for potential 
inclusion of the highway (freeway/expressway), a toll way, a bike path, 
energy production and/or transmission facilities, and a high speed rail 
feeder service line. The proposed route would run primarily in an east-
west direction and would roughly follow the alignment of the Avenue P-8 
corridor near SR-14 in Los Angeles County and Air Expressway near I-15 
in San Bernardino County. East of I-15, the proposed route would curve 
south until it terminates at SR-18.
    The development of this corridor is considered necessary to provide 
for the existing and projected traffic demand attributed to large-scale 
growth and increasing population in the Antelope, Victor and Apple 
Valley areas of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. This growth 
has resulted in inadequate capacity and accessibility along the 
existing east-west trending roadways as well as an increase in demand 
for goods movement corridors and access to regional airports. 
Alternatives under consideration are: (1)--No-Build; (2)--
Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/
TDM). This includes several key elements under consideration: An eight-
lane grade-separated freeway from SR-14 to 30th Street East; a 
transition to a four-lane at-grade expressway from 30th Street East to 
Longview Road; a four-lane at-grade highway connecting to SR-138 and 
extending east to US-395 along SR-18; a six-lane arterial highway along 
SR-18 (Palmdale Road) from US-395 to I-15; and minor roadway and signal 
improvements along SR-18 from I-15 to Bear Valley Road. These TSM/TDM 
roadway improvements would maintain at-grade intersections with local 
roads and driveway access; (3)--Freeway/Expressway (Avenue P-8, I-15 
and SR-18). This would consist of a route with a controlled-access 
freeway in some areas and an expressway in others, depending on what is 
warranted by traffic demand. Interchange locations will be determined 
based upon traffic projections. This alternative generally follows 
Avenue P-8 in Los Angeles County and runs just south of El Mirage Road 
in San Bernardino County and then extends to Air Expressway Road near 
I-15 and curves south terminating at Bear Valley Road. The 
incorporation of green energy technologies and a bike path along the 
alternative will also be considered. Four variations along the main 
alignment of this alternative will be considered. In Variation A, the 
freeway/expressway would run slightly south of the main alignment, 
approximately between 15th Street East and Little Rock Wash near 
Palmdale. In Variation B, the freeway/expressway would run slightly 
south of the main alignment between Oasis Road and Caughlin Road east 
of the county line. In Variation D, the freeway/expressway would swing 
south of the main alignment just south of Avenue R approximately 
between 180th Street East and 230th Street East near the community of 
Lake Los Angeles. In Variation E, the freeway/expressway would swing 
south of the federal prison near the cities of Adelanto and 
Victorville; (4)--Freeway/Toll Way (Avenue P-8, I-15 and SR-18). This 
would consist of engineering geometrics similar to Alternative 3 with 
alterations made in coordination with a Public Private Partnership (P3) 
analysis. Variations A, B, D and E would also be considered; (5)--
Freeway/Expressway with High Speed Rail Feeder Service. This 
Alternative is the same as the Alternative 3 (including Variations A, 
D, B and E) and includes a High Speed Rail (HSR) Feeder Service between 
Palmdale and Victorville. The HSR Feeder Service would utilize proven 
steel wheel on steel track technology and have a maximum operating 
speed of 180 miles per hour. Additional details of this operating 
feature, including the type of train technology (electric vs. diesel-
electric), its location in relation to the HDC and its connections to 
existing and proposed rail stations are being evaluated as part of the 
ongoing Public-Private Partnership analysis and Alternatives Analysis. 
The incorporation of green energy technologies and a bike path will 
also be considered; (6)--Freeway/Tollway with High Speed Rail Feeder 
Service. This would consist of engineering geometrics similar to 
Alternative 4 with the consideration of additional right-of-way for a 
High Speed Rail (HSR) facility. The HSR Feeder Service would utilize 
proven steel wheel on steel track technology and have a maximum 
operating speed of 180 miles per hour. Additional details of this 
operating feature, including the type of train technology (electric vs. 
diesel-electric), its location in relation to the HDC and its 
connections to existing and proposed rail stations are being evaluated 
as part of the ongoing P3 analysis and Alternatives Analysis. The

[[Page 46677]]

incorporation of green energy technologies and a bike path will also be 
considered; and (7)--Hybrid Corridor. This would consist of a 
combination of the previously identified alternatives, whose elements 
(TSM/TDM, Freeway, Expressway, Tollway, HSR Feeder Service, Green 
Energy Technologies, bike path) would be pieced together to best fit 
the needs of each section of the corridor. The determination of which 
elements to use, and at which locations, would be based on the results 
of the traffic study, environmental studies and public input. It is 
anticipated that the proposed project may require the following federal 
approvals and permits: A Biological Opinion from the United States Fish 
and Wildlife Service; approval of a PM10 and 
PM2.5 Hot Spot Analysis determination by the Conformity 
Working Group for transportation conformity under the Clean Air Act; 
Section 401, 402 and 404 permits under the Clean Water Act; and a 
Farmland Conversion Impact Rating under the Farmland Protection Policy 
Act.
    Letters describing the proposed action and soliciting comments will 
be sent to appropriate Federal, State and local agencies, Participating 
Agencies, Tribal governments, and to private organizations and citizens 
who have previously expressed or are known to have an interest in this 
proposal. To ensure that the full range of issues related to this 
proposed action are addressed and all significant issues identified, 
comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. 
Comments or questions concerning this proposed action and the draft EIS 
should be directed to Caltrans at the address provided above.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.)

    Issued on: July 22, 2013.
Matt Schmitz,
Director State Programs, Federal Highway Administration, Sacramento, 
California.
[FR Doc. 2013-18515 Filed 7-31-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P



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