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July 10, 2009

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joe

The San Mateo County Times is reporting that:

The California High Speed Rail Authority has rejected a settlement offer that Menlo Park, Atherton and environmental groups made in a lawsuit challenging the decision to run bullet trains through the Peninsula instead of the East Bay, an attorney for the cities said.

The offer, which the authority rejected in a closed session meeting July 2, would have required the agency to consider running trains through Altamont Pass, said Stuart Flashman, an attorney for the petitioners. Altamont Pass and Pacheco Pass were the two finalists for the route, and the authority selected Pacheco in 2007.

"What we are proposing is we would agree to dismiss the case if you would agree at the project level to restudy one Altamont alternative," Flashman said Thursday. "You throw this out now, and it may not come back. They decided they would just roll the dice."

Flashman noted that the authority did not make a counter offer.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny held a five-hour hearing in the case May 29 and must make a ruling by the end of August, Flashman said. In the meantime, he must go through about 35,000 pages of documents.


So it looks like the first big judicial decision on this will come in the next month and a half. The Union Pacific suit is still looming out there. Anyone know what the timeframe on that is?

Jennifer

Dictionary: cock•y
(ko˘k'ï)
adj., -i•er, -i•est.
Date: 1769

boldly or brashly self-confident
cockily cock'i•ly adv.
cockiness cock'i•ness n.

car n driver

Right on about the pork. I just read a great article in Car and Driver mag. Their guy says

We desperately need high-speed transcontinental trains based on the European and Japanese models, just as we need some modern version of the old interurban rail systems. If it is left to the present Congress, we'll get the best thinking of the eco-nazis, the safety nazis, the California Air Resource Board, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the Biosphere2 people. For the good of the nation and its citizens, these clowns should be kept as far from our automobiles as is politically possible.


Right on. The guy is David E. Davis Jr. and he has it nailed.

Joe

Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee has an article today titled "Is Now the Time to Build a Railroad?"

He hits on some interesting points. Here are the best parts:

Is this the time to launch construction of a high-speed railroad line between Northern and Southern California that will cost at least $40 billion, much of it from bonds to be repaid from a state budget that's already gushing red ink?

The criticism continues, however, questioning both whether a high-speed rail system makes transportation and economic sense and the route adopted by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, especially running trains over the unpopulated Pacheco Pass between San Jose and the Central Valley.

Recently, however, the feds decided to place the Los Angeles-Las Vegas high-speed route promoted by Nevada interests, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in the California system. It raises the specter that huge sums would be spent to make it easier for Californians to spend money in Las Vegas casinos.

Meanwhile, opposition to the Pacheco Pass route appears to be growing because it would mean routing trains down the bucolic San Francisco Peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose. The alternative would be to run trains over the Altamont Pass along Interstate 580 into the Stockton-Tracy area, a more heavily traveled commuter corridor.

Environmental activists in Palo Alto are complaining about the impact on their city and, somewhat mysteriously, language appeared in still-pending revisions to the 2009-10 state budget that makes allocation of $139 million in high-speed rail planning funds contingent on "alternative alignments" being considered. Advocates of the Pacheco Pass route consider that to be a poison pill and will try to get it removed before a final budget is enacted, if that ever occurs.

While $9 billion of the voter-approved bond issue is to be used for the system, if and when it is ever built, the remaining $995 million can be spent on local mass transit systems on the assumption that they will improve access to high-speed rail.

There is a suspicion among those who chart the erratic course taken by the bullet train project that when push comes to shove, its only tangible fruit will be those local projects.


The Las Vegas wrinkle is new news even to some who are following this pretty closely. Kind of adds to the Pork slant that the S.F. Examiner started.

Joe

Here's another announcement by Anna Echoo of a Town Hall meeting:

"I'm writing to invite you to a special Town Hall Meeting to discuss the issue of High Speed Rail. Experts from the High Speed Rail Authority and Caltrain will make presentations and answer the many questions related to what is being planned.

The meeting will be held on Saturday, July 25th at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, from 2:00 to 3:30p.m.

If you're not able to attend, the Town Hall Meeting in Menlo Park will be Webcast live at http://eshoo.house.gov and I will take questions from Webcast viewers. Anyone with a question they can email it to me at AskAnna@mail.house.gov."

Who can think up the best question?

Fiona

A Press Release was sent about the postponement of this meeting:

Congresswoman Eshoo Postpones
High Speed Rail Town Hall Meeting
Due to Legislative Work in Washington, D.C.

Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) received notice today that she must postpone the scheduled meeting in Menlo Park on Saturday, July 25th due to critical votes in Washington, D.C. As a Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee she must remain in Washington over the weekend to vote.

Congresswoman Eshoo apologizes for any inconvenience the schedule change may cause and is committed to hosting a meeting in the near future with experts who can answer citizen questions on High Speed Rail. She will inform constituents as soon as possible of the new date and time.

For more information, you can visit her website at http://eshoo.house.gov or call our District Office at (650) 323-2984 or (408) 245-2339.

###

commuter

Ann Eshoo has rescheduled her town hall meeting for Wednesday, August 26, 7-8:30, Menlo Park City Council Chambers. As before, you may submit questions in advance.


AskAnna@mail.house.gov.

joe

Today's Daily Post has an article that clarifies that people attending Rep. Anna Eshoo's meeting MUST submit their questions in writing "meaning residents will have no direct verbal communication with the congresswoman or the panel of experts."

The time and place remain the same as noted above even though the Post has the wrong date in the article. I've confirmed with Rep. Eshoo's office that it is Wednesday the 26th, from 7-8:30pm.

potter

Once free speech is controlled, you've begun to lose all your rights.

commuter

I read on the train today that another lawsuit was filed in Superior Court yesterday by an Atherton resident named Russell Peterson. He is alleging that all plans for the high speed train must first be approved by Union Pacific per a 1991 agreement with Caltrain.

Peterson is asking for "standing" in the matter so that if the High Speed Rail Authority starts construction without getting Union Pacific approval then he can take further action according to one of his attorneys.

commuter

Potter - what question have you asked Anna Eshoo as your part of "free speech"?

potter

Ask not what you can do with Eshoo, but what Eshoo can do for you.

And, what she can do is not go along with the HSR fiasco.

commuter

A (closed/open) mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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