We've been calling for federal representatives to speak up and help resolve some of the key HSR disputes in California, and it looks like that's exactly what they're starting to do. Senator Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to Ray LaHood calling for the feds to fund the construction of an HSR train box at Transbay Terminal, as is currently called for in the plans:
The California High Speed Rail Authority may be looking at possible alternatives to a new Transbay Terminal to bring bullet trains into San Francisco, but our former mayor and California's senior senator says the choice is clear.
Go with the proposed Transbay Transit Center.
That's the message Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent in a letter Wednesday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in advance of the Obama administration's decision on federal stimulus funding for high speed rail projects across the country.
A new Transbay Terminal at First and Mission Streets is "an ideal destination for high speed rail" and a project where construction could begin in the first three months of next year, Feinstein wrote.
"The project represents a real downtown station in one of America's great cities, assuring that high speed rail delivers travelers to the city center without the traffic or delays that afflict other modes of travel," the senator wrote. "This project will not only put thousands of Californians back to work, but will also move the state's plans for high speed rail one step closer to reality."
Feinstein joins fellow Sen. Barbara Boxer and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in calling for federal funds to build San Francisco's high-speed rail terminus at the site of the old bus station.
"Transbay will become the 'Grand Central of the West,'" Boxer wrote to LaHood.
Feinstein and Boxer's comments come along reports I have heard that Speaker Nancy Pelosi not only prefers the Transbay Terminal to be the SF terminus, but that she has said the $400 million for the train box is all ready to go, except for CHSRA's objections.
Let's also not forget, of course, that voters approved TBT as the SF terminus when Prop 1A passed last November.
CHSRA continues to argue they are mandated to explore other alternatives, a position the California Attorney General's office supported. However, California's leading federal representatives are clearly uniting behind the Transbay Terminal project.