Peninsula Still Not Happy About High-Speed Rail - NBC Bay Area

Peninsula Still Not Happy About High-Speed Rail



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    Five cities on the Peninsula are calling for the California  High-Speed Rail Authority to address a number of concerns about the proposed  rail line before the project proceeds.

          The Peninsula Cities Consortium, which consists of Palo AltoMenlo Park, Atherton, Belmont and Burlingame, is demanding that the line "be  built right or not at all."
    Members say they believe the current plan for high-speed rail is  being crafted too quickly because planners are rushing to get federal  funding.
    Construction must begin by September 2012 and finish by September  2017 in order for the state to qualify for $2.25 billion in federal grant  money, according to the Peninsula Cities Consortium.
    The project is projected to cost about $43 billion.
    "They need to go back and re-examine the business plan," Palo Alto  Mayor Pat Burt said. "They don't have a credible ridership plan, they don't  have credible financing to build the project and they don't yet have a  business plan for the operating system."
    "This train system would run through the middle of 16 cities on  the Peninsula," Burt said. "We can't have this thing just racing forward to  try to chase some federal dollars if there are such fundamental flaws."
    The Peninsula Cities Consortium is asking that more time be spent  evaluating proposed alternatives and environmental impacts.
    Burt said, "If they had a viable business plan, high-speed rail  would be good for the state and good for commerce. The question is whether  this plan can be salvaged."
    A spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority was not  available for comment.