High Speed Rail Starts its Engines

Info meetings taking place

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is holding three informational meetings on the Peninsula, including one in Millbrae Wednesday night, to discuss the environmental impacts of the Bay Area segment of the statewide high-speed train system approved by voters in November.

The authority is preparing an environmental impact report on the project, and the meetings will give residents a chance to learn about its potential effects on local cities.

The proposed alignment of the project is along Caltrain right-of-way with stations in San Francisco, Millbrae and San Jose, with another potential station in Redwood City or Palo Alto, according to officials.

Sharon Kyle, the authority's public participation manager, said the consultant team for the project will attend the meetings, which will include an overview presentation, informational materials, and project exhibit boards.

Public inquiries and comments are welcome, she said.

The meetings are being conducted as follow-ups to public scoping meetings held in San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in late January.

"A lot of people just have basic questions about the project," Kyle said. "What we heard from scoping meetings were basic questions about the environmental impact, questions about funding. The cities that we've met with just want to understand the planning implications."

The project started after California voters passed Proposition 1A in November to guarantee $9.95 billion in state bond money to fund the state's share of the first phase of the 800-mile system.

After the initial scoping meetings, the authority announced on Feb. 12 that the public comment period for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment would be extended for another month, to April 6, after a request by Palo Alto city officials due to high community interest in the project.

Anyone interested in submitting comments on the scope of the environmental impact report can send them in writing to Deputy Director Dan Leavitt, ATTN: San Francisco to San Jose HST Project EIR/EIS, California High-Speed Rail Authority, 925 L St., Ste. 1425, Sacramento.

Comments can also be submitted via email with the subject line  "San Francisco to San Jose HST" to comments@hsr.ca.gov. Additional information about the high-speed rail environmental review process can be found at http://www.cahighspeedrail.gov.

Wednesday night's meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Chetcuti Community Room at 450 Poplar Ave. in Millbrae.

Another meeting will be held Thursday in Palo Alto at the main hall of the Mitchell Park Community Center at 3800 Middlefield Road.

The third meeting takes place March 4 in Redwood City at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center's Redwood Room at 1455 Madison Ave. All three meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m.

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