High Speed Rail Report Due Thursday

Menlo Park hires lobbyist to influence high speed rail authority

Monday, Apr 5, 2010  |  Updated 7:48 PM PDT
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Big Week for High Speed Rail

CHSRA

An artist's rendering may be as close as any bullet train gets to stopping at San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center.

A new report on the state's voter-approved project to build a high-speed rail network joining California's largest cities is due to be released in San Jose on Thursday.

It should give hints as to how seriously the California High-Speed Rail Authority is considering such controversial topics as the location of the San Francisco terminal and how it plans to navigate the route along the peninsula.

Objections have been raised to a train that doesn't run underground through wealthy peninsula communities, including Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park.

The Peninsula Cities Consortium is campaigning for a tunnel, with CHSRA saying that while expensive, the tunnel is being seriously considered.

Residents are mostly worried about their precious property values being affected by a fast train cutting through town, though one would imagine might actually go up with access to such a fast and convenient mode of transportation nearby.

Menlo Park has gone so far as to hire a full-time lobbyist and budgeted for technical help to influence CHSRA decisions and parse reports like the one scheduled for Thursday.

The CHSRA is saying that no decisions are final, and the report just represents another step towards completing the environmental impact report, which is scheduled to be completed by next year.

Jackson West hates to admit it, but he's kind of jealous of how China can just get this stuff done, and wonders how the French ever pulled it off.

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