Friday, April 1, 2011

DesertXpress Final EIR Released

No, this is not an April Fools joke. The Federal Railroad Administration today released the final Environmental Impact Report for the DesertXpress HSR from "southern California" to Las Vegas. It's a huge document, but it describes a pretty timid plan- most of the train is going to be located within the existing envelope of I-15, and most of the land to be acquired is either useless bits of freeway-adjacent desert, or low-intensity industrial use on the Vegas side. Unfortunately, that "useless bits of freeway-adjacent desert" description applies equally well to the preferred Victorville station, to be located off I-15 at Dale Evans Parkway on the fringes of Apple Valley.

View DesertXpress HSR stations in a larger map
I mean, I knew that a station in Victorville wasn't going to be a mixed-use miracle, but I was hoping it'd be at least close to an existing VVTA line. (The nearest is on SR-18, some eight miles south. The Amtrak and Greyhound station is similarly distant.) Lest you protest that nobody is going to ride a bus from Los Angeles to Victorvlle, note that the people who work at the facility (including ticket agents, hotel agents, baggage handlers, maintenance-of-way personnel, and probably train operators, conductors and on-board services staff) will have to get there every day, and might like a way to do that besides driving.

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