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EIR Released on $6 Billion Antelope Valley Highway

A draft environmental impact report has been released on a planned 63-mile highway and rail line through the Mohave Desert that would link Antelope Valley with Victorville. The 800-page plus report studies five alternatives for the so-called High Desert Corridor, which could cost $6 billion and feature a freeway of up to four lanes in each direction and right-of-way for a rail line that could accommodate high-speed trains. The report notes that the route would urbanize the area, covering more than 3,200 acres of grazing land and farmland; require the removal of up to 163 homes and businesses; adversely affect historic and prehistoric sites; and harm wildlife such as the golden eagle. However, it also would connect some of the region’s fastest growing communities with what is being called a “truly sustainable corridor,” with infrastructure capable of charging electric and refueling alternative-energy vehicles. It also would provide space for green-energy generation and electrical-transmission lines. The project is being proposed by the California Department of Transportation and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Public comments on the environmental report will be taken through Dec. 2. Funding comes from Measure R, a ballot initiative passed in 2008 that raised L.A. County sales taxes by one half cent to fund transportation projects and improvements. Among the five options studied in the report are a controlled-access freeway and expressway from Avenue P-8 in Palmdale to Bear Valley Road, near Apple Valley; and a combined freeway and tollway alternative using an electronic toll-collection system. Public hearings on the report, released Thursday, are scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, 38350 Sierra Highway, Palmdale. Copies are available at branches of the Los Angeles County Library in Lancaster, Lake Los Angeles, Littlerock and Quartz Hill, and online at the CalTrans and Metro websites.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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