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July 01, 2009

Comments

JROC

I wonder if this will become a campaign issue. Do you suppose?

Holy Roller

No way!
This entire propsal and concept is a waste of time for anyone to consider.
Unless, you are a PR Company..
Hey Boys,(PR Company-Not Named taking advantage of OWP's) everyone needs a job.
But winding up the people in my community regarding this ridiculous proposal is a waste of your time.
Move on.
HSR is a thing of the past.

Come on

I know someone who lives in an apartment building near the tracks who just got a notice from their landlord that the building could be taken by eminent domain. They have to do something with those billions of dollars that passed last year.

Joe

The July/August edition of the local Sierra Club newsletter "The Loma Prietan" has three articles, a glossary and a map about High-speed Rail in it. You can almost feel the tension that must exist in the local chapter as you read the articles.

David Simon who is the editor sums up his article titled "What's So Great About High Speed Rail?" with:

"The Club is disappointed that the HSR Authority has chosen to run the line over the Pacheco Pass into Gilroy rather than over Altamont Pass into Livermore. From the standpoint of regional transportation planning, the Altamont Pass route makes more sense, since the two interregional connections most in need of additional transit capacity are the Bay Area-to-Central Valley and the Bay Area-to-Sacramento routes. The Altamont alignment would provide the infrastructure for both of these connections, essentially for free. However, the Club believes that getting HSR built earlier is preferable to haggling over the route for years."

I never thought of the Sierra Club as a "go-along-to-get-along" organization that would shy away from fighting for the best approach to something. Can any members shed light on what is going on inside the Club's organization?

Joanne

Sounds like they drank the Kool-Aid.

Joe

The Times and the Daily Journal both ran the same article written by Steve Lawrence for the AP. He hit some interesting points:

"In some of the neighborhoods south of San Francisco, residents are urging the state high-speed rail board to consider tunneling, trenching or making San Jose the system’s terminus in the Bay Area. That step would require riders to take commuter trains from the heart of Silicon Valley to San Francisco.

Others suggest a different route, perhaps taking the trains off the Peninsula and reaching San Francisco through an underwater tube from Oakland.

Their allies in the California Legislature have inserted language into a pending bill that would require the rail board to consider a different San Jose-to-San Francisco route than the one currently selected."


I'm interested to find out who these "allies" are and what language they inserted. He also notes:

Rail Director Mehdi "Morshed said the board will have to consider terminating high-speed trains in San Jose if environmental obstacles and public opposition are too daunting. But rail board member Quentin Kopp, a semiretired judge and former state senator, said a San Jose terminus would violate voters’ intent when they approved Proposition 1A.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom also would fight any attempt to stop the trains short of his city, a mayoral spokesman said. “The economics of high-speed rail depend entirely on connecting LA and San Francisco,” said Michael Cohen, San Francisco’s director of economic and workforce development."


Peter Garrison

Can you imagine the rental-car terminal at LAX being duplicated for the stranded HSR commuters standing around Union Station in downtown LA?

The supposed "green" benefits of HSR would disappear in the smog of car-choked LA.

And then- the infrastructure gravy-train of "specialized" police and fire departments for the HSR, etc... This train will sink in its own roadbed of special interests.

This is a pipe-dream complete with the mesmerizing smoke.

Joe

You hit on several interesting issues. I'm aware of one quantitative-minded person who is "running the numbers" on the HSR passenger estimates and the SF surface street capacity and not finding a good equation.

San Jose

The Merc is waking up to the issue

By Paul Rogers
Mercury News

An obscure sentence inserted deep in a massive state budget bill could delay construction of the proposed high-speed rail route from San Jose to San Francisco, potentially costing the region more than $1 billion in federal stimulus money, high-speed rail planners said Monday.

The language requires that as a condition of getting $139 million next year from the state budget to hire staff and engineering firms, the state High-Speed Rail Authority must study "alternative alignments" to the route along the Caltrain tracks, approved by the authority last July.

Though the bill has passed both chambers of the state Legislature, its fate is uncertain because it remains part of the bigger state budget imbroglio.

Some Peninsula residents have opposed the route, citing noise and construction of concrete bridges and overpasses near neighborhoods. Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park have sued the high-speed rail agency seeking to reopen the process.

On Monday, Rod Diridon, a former Santa Clara County supervisor who sits on the high-speed rail board, said that restudying the route could jeopardize federal stimulus money that requires eligible projects have construction started by September 2012. (DONT JEOPARDIZE THE PENINSULA)

"If it were to stay in, only our corridor in the whole state would be penalized, and all the federal stimulus money would go to Southern California," Diridon said. (SO?)

The San Jose-to-San Francisco route will be seeking $1.3 billion in stimulus money,

Diridon said. Two other proposed high-speed-rail routes near Los Angeles also will be seeking similar amounts.

Adding to the drama Monday was that neither Diridon or any other member of the high-speed rail board said they knew who wrote the provision requiring the extra study.

"We're all mystified. The whole board was caught by surprise how the language got in the bill," Diridon said.

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto whose constituents are most upset by the route said he's not the author.

"That's not my language. I didn't have anything to do with it," he said. (TOO BAD I WISH YOU HAD BEEN ON TOP OF THIS SENATOR)

Political skulduggery may not be to blame. (CREDIT, NOT BLAME) In the rush to finish the budget, legislative staff members crafted the new requirement based on what Peninsula residents who testified at hearings and senators seemed (THEY WERE WELL PAST SEEMED IN THEIR COMMENTS) to want, said Brian Annis, transportation budget consultant on the state Senate budget committee.

"We were incorporating many different comments and issues that staff and legislators were involved in," Annis said. "As far as the specific language, we drafted something we thought was workable." (NICE JOB)

The language is included in a massive budget bill that the state Senate approved June 30 and that the Assembly approved Wednesday. Its fate remains unclear, however, because Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has promised to veto any budget bill that raises taxes or doesn't solve all of the state's $26 billion deficit.

Lorne

For anyone who missed it, you can view the 5/4 Council meeting HSR presentation here (scroll directly to agenda item 8b in the yellow box on the left hand side of your screen):
http://burlingameca.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=53

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