By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 03/04/15, 4:07 PM PST |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The final environmental document for the Redlands Passenger Rail Project has been certified by the San Bernardino Associated Governments Board of Directors.

The board on Tuesday approved the final Environmental Impact Report and the locally preferred alternative for the project, which includes use of Diesel Multiple Units only, establishing a station at Waterman Avenue and existing rail maintenance facilities.

“This is a major milestone. We have been working on this for five years,” said Mitch Alderman, SanBAG’s director of transit and rail programs, before making a presentation on the project to the board.

The purpose of the EIR/EIS is to analyze potential impacts a project could have on the surrounding environment such as noise, pollution and traffic.

The draft environmental documents were open to public review in August and September. SanBAG received 67 comments from the public during that time, all of which were responded to in the final environmental report.

The final EIR and Environmental Impact Study were posted on SanBAG’s website on Feb. 20. SanBAG received four letters on the final documents, Alderman said.

The Redlands Passenger Rail Project will extend rail service 9 miles, from downtown San Bernardino to the University of Redlands.

Stations are proposed for New York Street near Esri, downtown Redlands, University of Redlands and Waterman Avenue.

SanBAG is working with the cities of Loma Linda and Redlands to build a station at California Street.

Construction could begin in late 2017 with operations beginning in late 2018 or early 2019.

“The integration of this rail project in the general plan for our city is going to be a real center piece of how we plan our community over the next 20 to 30 years,” said Redlands Mayor Pro Tem Jon Harrison, referring to the City Council’s decision Tuesday to move forward on updating the city’s general plan.

Last month, the Redlands and San Bernardino city councils approved agreements to establish quiet zones throughout the rail line.

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