Updated High-Speed Rail Plan Could Take Away Roads

Saturday, Mar 6, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Updated High-Speed Rail Plan Could Take Away Roads

Bullet train on Route 82 photochoppage

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A revised plan from the high-speed rail authority has stayed the course on the Pacheco Pass route up to San Francisco, but it now has the added possibility of taking two Route 82 lanes between Gilroy and San Jose.

A certain irony abounds here: proponents of the bullet train had previously asserted that in order to meet the state's future transportation needs without building high-speed rail, California would have to fight a losing battle by continually adding highway lanes and building out airports — in the Route 82/Monterey Highway scenario, the high-speed train would actually eat away existing car lanes. But that's only because Union Pacific hasn't been friendly to the idea of sharing tracks with the fast train, for fear of losing room for their freight operations.

That that hiccup needed to be addressed was one of the key findings in a judge's ruling last fall — when it was also decided that the South Bay/Peninsula route, rather than the East Bay route, was mostly fine. In fact, the high-speed rail authority's now using the whole Union Pacific thing as further justification for the train taking the San Jose route, since Union Pacific has even more tracks in the East Bay, which would result in the need for even more property taking. As for the potential loss of Route 82 car lanes? The traffic jams would be "minimal," even if congestion would be "significant" in certain parts. Plus, Highway 101 "should be able to handle the heavy congestion."

· Revised high-speed rail plans don't change San Jose to SF alignment [Merc]
· High-Speed Rail Ruling Confuses, But It's Some Sort of Setback [Curbed SF]
· Peninsula: Whoa, Back That High-Speed Train Up [Curbed SF]

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