Friday, January 23, 2009

First Peninsula HSR Scoping Meeting

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

Last night the first of the Peninsula HSR scoping meetings was held at SamTrans headquarters in San Carlos. The Palo Alto Weekly has a mostly decent story - once you get beyond the completely inaccurate lede:

The state agency charged with building a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles has yet to convince Peninsula residents about the merits of having electric trains zip through their communities at 125 mph.

But on Thursday, officials from the California High-Speed Rail Authority took a step toward quelling area fears with the first of three "scoping sessions" this month on what should be included in an environment-impact study on the 800-mile project.

That phrase "yet to convince Peninsula residents" lacks merit, as it is directly challenged by the election returns of November 4 which clearly show Prop 1A passing by a wide margin in San Mateo County - 61% yes to 39% no. Since the population of San Mateo County is overwhelmingly located within a few miles of the HSR route, this strikes me as clear evidence that Peninsula residents are convinced of "the merits of having electric trains zip through their communities at 125 mph." Especially when you consider the high profile the issue had on the Peninsula throughout 2008 - voters in San Mateo County well understood what they were getting themselves into.

The ridiculous lede of the article's author, Gennady Sheyner, is further belied by the rest of the article, which describes a fairly uneventful meeting. The following points stood out to me as the most newsworthy:

Some audience members asked whether Palo Alto or Redwood City will end up with a high-speed rail station. Palo Alto city staff is evaluating potential impacts of a high-speed rail station downtown and the city has not come out with an official stance.

The question over which city would join Millbrae as a stopping point between San Francisco and San Jose probably won't be answered for at least a year. The authority is in the "amoeba phase" of putting together its environmental impact report (EIR) for the project. The authority expects to work on the analysis and engineering for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment until 2011.

I think it's safe to say that the final answer to this question will be determined by a combination of the engineering studies and local support. If Palo Alto comes out strongly against a station and Redwood City is supportive, then the CHSRA will likely find a way to make Redwood City work. If the reverse, then Palo Alto. The ideal situation is that both communities support a station and the engineering and planning work alone determines it on its merits. But that's not likely to happen - politics will play a role in the outcome, primarily the politics in each city.

Quentin L. Kopp, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said 28 private companies, including Goldman Sachs, had previously expressed interest in investing in the project.

But he said it's not clear what effect the worsening economy would have on private contributions.

Kopp said the authority's consultant and management group are now reaching out to potential investors to gauge their current level of interest.

I would be surprised if firm answers are received at this time. The economic crisis is starting to dramatically and rapidly worsen and within months we will be in a global Depression. Once that happens things will actually start to shake out and we can get a clearer picture of which companies can participate. It may take until 2010 to get some firm answers on private participation.

Palo Alto City Councilmember Yoriko Kishimoto attended the meeting and asked authority officials about potential parking facilities at the proposed stations. Kopp said the agency has yet to resolve that question, though the answers may lie with the host cities.

"I think in the end it will probably be up to each city," Kopp said. "We may make a recommendation, but I don't personally believe in usurping local authority."

This is a very smart statement by Kopp. It is something that needs to be worked out with each host city, although I think the bias needs to be against providing a lot of parking. Some, but not too much, with the details to be worked out by planners who emphasize sustainability and transit accessibility. It goes without saying Kopp's reply is the diplomatic one, and leaves the question in Palo Alto's lap, where it probably belongs - let them hammer out the question of whether they want to encourage driving or not.

The comments section of the article includes some questions from Palo Alto residents about the impact to the community in terms of HSR's footprint - how many houses may be taken, what about parks and schools along the route? Definitely questions that should and will be answered as the project engineering continues. One resident wonders why they don't just put HSR down the middle of Highway 101, which aside from being a stupid idea in its own right misses the point of HSR on the Peninsula - to help upgrade Caltrain's service capacity as well as connect HSR from San José to San Francisco.

HSR denier Martin Engel has decided that having lost the battle over HSR itself, a tunnel in Menlo Park/Atherton is his new white whale:

CHSRA against tunnels? Not really. They do want a tunnel between S.Tomas Expressway and the Diridon Station. Rafael has pointed this out for us already....

Even though Kopp, in his royal declarations, has denied bond issue funding for the 1.5 mile tunnel to the Transbay Terminal, we all know that it will happen regardless. So, they don’t oppose tunnels and therefore, given that this new rail system will be in business for another 145 years, it should be underground. Not because of NIMBYs like us, but because every major city has its intercity rail systems and commuter subways underground. San Francisco will. The Peninsula should. Major rail systems have no business running down the middle of high-density, high population cities. In 75 years, that's what the Peninsula will be.

By this logic, Martin, the entire system should be built underground whenever it is in or near a major metro area. It is not in fact the case that every major city has its intercity and commuter rail systems underground; there are numerous European examples where this simply is not the case.

Engel clearly does not care about the overall project, since paying for a tunnel on the mid-Peninsula would be a colossal and unnecessary waste of money for the CHSRA, which needs to, you know, build the entire line from SF to LA. Just as in the battle over Prop 1A, now in the discussion over the tunnel Engel believes that the entire state of California's budgetary and transportation policies should be oriented to give him exactly what he wants as a property owner near a rail line that was built a century before he even acquired the property.

Martin Engel may never admit this, but Menlo Park and Atherton should: unless they plan to pay for it themselves there is no chance whatsoever that an HSR tunnel will be built through their communities. None. And maybe that's the point here - Engel is merely trying to whip up public controversy in hopes of derailing the project (his term, not ours). A shame, really - Peninsula residents should come to their own conclusions about the project, instead of catering to a single individual.

The next meetings will be held:

San Francisco: San Francisco State University, 835 Market Street, 6th Floor (Rooms 673-674), San Francisco, California, January 27, 2009 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Santa Clara County: Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Parkway, Great America Meeting Rooms 1 & 2, Santa Clara, California, January 29, 2009 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Written comments on the scope of the San Francisco to San Jose HST Project EIR/EIS should be provided to the CHSRA by March 6, 2009, and can be sent to with subject line San Francisco to San Jose HST.


Taylor Weston Hickem said...

What are some of the main disadvantages to building the HSR line in the middle of Highway 101?

"One resident wonders why they don't just put HSR down the middle of Highway 101, which aside from being a stupid idea in its own right misses the point of HSR on the Peninsula - to help upgrade Caltrain's service capacity as well as connect HSR from San José to San Francisco."

crzwdjk said...

The most obvious reason that comes to mind is that Highway 101 just isn't straight enough for high speed. It's designed for cars going 65 mph, where even Caltrain does 79, and high speed rail wants to do 125 down the peninsula, something which the existing Caltrain corridor's geometry mostly allows aside from a few specific places. And to double the speed, you need to quadruple the curve radius.

Alon Levy said...

Tokyo Station is elevated.

As for U.S. 101, not only is it lower-speed than the rail line, but also cars can turn tighter curves because their passengers wear seat belts.

Jarrett Mullen said...

Not to mention 101 is totally disconnected from the more transit and pedestrian friendly areas of the Peninsula. Without a doubt, the caltrain corridor is the best choice.

Rafael said...

Just to clarify: I requested that CHSRA explain its preference for a tunnel between San Tomas Expressway and just north of SJ Diridon station.

With Caltrain, UPRR, Amtrak CC and ACE already operating in the section between Santa Clara and SJ Diridon and, BART to be added, it's not clear there is sufficient room at the I-880 underpass to accommodate HSR at grade.

That said, it might well make sense to combine HSR and BART planning in this, the busiest section of the entire Caltrain corridor. HSR needs soil to construct elevated berms at a number of locations in the peninsula. This soil could come from the old rail yard in Santa Clara that VTA purchased for the BART project.

Putting that yard underground (and selling the air rights to developers) would mean BART stays underground north of SJ Diridon. That in turn frees up at-grade space for HSR tracks at the I-880 underpass. If my hunch is correct, that would mean the great expense of HSR tunnel construction between San Tomas Expressway and SJ Diridon could be avoided altogether.

That does not mean the savings should be used to fund a tunnel in Menlo Park. Instead, the target cost for the starter line as a whole should be reduced.

crzwdjk said...

Rafael: the ROW from CP Coast south to the CEMOF is wide enough for at least five tracks, possibly more. Right now there are three through tracks there: southbound Caltrain, northbound Caltrain, and UP/ACE/Capitol Corridor. There are plans in the works to expand that stretch to four tracks. But planning-wise, that area is just a tangle of conflicts, with Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, HSR, and BART all having their own plans, and I'm not sure how they're going to work all this out. The thing that I'm particularly having trouble seeing is how HSR will get through the San Jose station area, especially north and south of the station itself, given that they want fast through trains, and if they build an elevated station, I'm not sure where there's room north of the station to build a ramp down to grade level.

Rafael said...

@ arcady -

you'll have to ask CHSRA exactly where they want to build their ramp up to the elevated level.

My point was simply that someone - e.g. Caltrans' Dept. of Rail - needs to bring together planners from multiple public rail operators plus UPRR to figure out how to minimize construction cost in this section of the HSR route.

Clem said...

I went to the meeting, and heard a couple of recurring points from residents:

- use the 101 alignment (as noted, impractical because of curvature & numerous overpasses)

- if HSR is only going "half speed" then just use the Caltrain tracks (impossible because of track capacity limits)

- we already have a bullet, so we don't need a new one. Have people change trains in San Jose and continue on Caltrain to SF. (this one is an unfortunate side effect of Caltrain marketing: people really think the BB's are that fast!)

This last point even got applause.

I am also told that many of the key players in the project read blogs!

Clem said...

I forgot to mention: HNTB (the firm doing the preliminary engineering) is under contract since November and plans to examine every detail of the track alignment. The existing description of the track profile from the Bay Area / Central Valley EIS/EIR is not necessarily going to be used as the basis for this work. Who knows if that Santa Clara trench will remain in the plan?

Anonymous said...

dumb stop the train in San Jose. We are not going to bow down to some self-center NIMBYS when 65% said yes to HSR there. if they dont like it then MOVE

crzwdjk said...

Clem's comment brings me back to the point I've made repeatedly before: at this point, there is no plan for any specific alignment. Any lines you see drawn on a map are just that, lines on a map, and we here on this blog can draw lines just as good. Only now that we've approved the thing is the HSRA going to figure out the details of where exactly they're going to build.

And to the people who suggest just using the Caltrain tracks with no change, I would say that even if track capacity allows it, it would mean there would be twice as many trains going through the grade crossings every day, increasing the risk of a collision and inconveniencing anyone who wants to cross the tracks, especially during rush hour.

Tony D. said...

yeson1A said it perfectly! One thing that you'll always find is that when it comes to scoping meetings, those against a particular project always come out en masse, as if their views are reflective of the greater majority. forget the fact, as Robert pointed out, that the vast majority of San Mateo County residents supported Prop. 1A/HSR. Just design/build HSR and the Caltrain upgrade as currently designed and don't bow down to the selfish, sore looser NIMBY's...enough said!

bossyman15 said...

In this week President Obama's Weekly Address, he said.. "repairing and modernizing thousands of miles of America's roadways and providing new mass transit options for millions of americans .

he said NEW .

I hope he means High Speed Rail.

Brandon in California said...

^^^ Good find and good news.

Whether Obama means HSR or not, expansion of our public transit systems is a very good thing; IMO, especially if it involves alternatively fueled vehicles like electricly powered trains.

And i'll add, the further the reach of quality mass transit systems, the greater the support that is created.

Rafael said...

@ bossyman15, brandon -

please don't read too much into the President's weekly addresses. Talk is cheap.

More informative are pages 207-216 (esp. 211-216) of the current draft of HR 1 aka the stimulus bill.

Highlights of the transportation section:

a) no linkage whatsoever to energy policy, which is point blank idiotic

b) no linkage whatsoever to urban planning and development, which is just as idiotic

c) $3 billion for airports
d) $30 billion for highways

e) $1.1 billion for Amtrak
f) $6 billion for railroads
g) $2 billion for fixed guideways
h) $1 billion for capital investment grants at the discretion of DoT

So that adds up to $10.1 billion for transit. There's all kinds of caveats and easter eggs in those few pages. For example, in most cases, the federal share can be up to 100%, at the discretion of the recipient. Also, the $6 billion for railroads and the $2 billion for fixed guideways must be apportioned no later than 7 days after the bill becomes law. Etc.

Amtrak is allowed to use its funds to purchase "railroad assets", e.g. ROW, provided it does so within 180 days. This permission is not spelled out again for the other transit portions of the bill, but may apply.

CHSRA should be able to get a significant bite of this cherry but only if it gets its ducks in a row very, very quickly, as this bill is expected to become law sometime in February. They snooze, we lose.

Rafael said...

In case you're wondering: the only brand-new commercial airport project in the country that is about to turn dirt is the Ivanpah Valley Airport near Jean, Nevada. It's patron saint is none other than Senate majority leader Harry Reid. He also wants to build a maglev line (file under "fixed guideway") from Las Vegas to the new airport.

The same dollar amount would be spent far more intelligently on electrification of an HSR spur from Las Vegas to Mojave, where it would connect to the California system, including Palmdale airport. The tracks could be paid for by the private DesertXPress consortium, assuming the Victorville plans are nixed. Additional funding could come from utilities leveraging the ROW to bring renewable power to California's population centers.

Note also that airports such as LAX are having trouble coping with ever-larger airliners, such as the
Airbus A380. With HSR, secondary airports such as Palmdale, Ontario and perhaps, Merced, could take some of this extra strain on airport infrastructure designed long ago for much smaller aircraft. It's unclear if any of the money destined for airports will be spent on humdrum upgrades to gates, taxiways etc.

Also note that Sacramento airport's dreams of a third runway are running smack into a major bird strike hazard: SMF was built right under the Pacific flyway, a route used by millions of migratory birds - many just as large as the Canada geese that presumably downed the jet that ended up in the Hudson.

Anonymous said...

On pape 212 there is a reference for funding Inter-city HSR and giving perference to those projects

bossyman15 said...

Oooo i see. well let's see if they follow through with that.

Rafael said...

@ yeson1a -

the high speed rail reference applies to just $300 million of the total. If CHSRA can get at least half of that, it'll be ok for 2009.

However, in a bill of this magnitude, $150-200 million for the largest single infrastructure project ever in the largest state of the union is peanuts. What are DiFi and BB doing to secure at least a public commitment to future HSR spending by the Obama administration?

Peter said...

For anyone that was at the meeting: what was the schedule like between 3 and 8? Basically when do I want to leave work to show up, and when should I plan to stick around until?

Anonymous said...

I e-mailed DiFi about 3weeks ago and got a nice real reply from her about how glad she is prop 1a passed and her commitment to secure federal funding for Cailfornia. I think this year or next we will see the President and the Kerry bill come forward with CA HST funds.

Clem said...

@Peter N

Presentations at 4 and 6 PM followed by group Q&A and individual break-away discussions (milling about)

All the key people (Kopp, Spaethling, Cobb, etc.) will be there

Brandon in California said...

My sense of reality is in check; however, thanks for the recommendation. I certainly hope no one here is niave enough to take Obama's Janaury 23rd address and make conclusive assumptions.... as if it were law.

With that said, neither should we do the same with H.R.1 released on Janaury 18th. we are reminded several times a day by media coverage that not everyone is satisfied with the amounts being discussed or how it is proposed to be used. Rhetorically speaking... "Will discussions lead to substantive changes in H.R.1?" We'll see.

Nevertheless, both are examples for reasons to have more optimism about HSR and mass transit.

Brandon in California said...

^^ Correction, both occured on the same date... the H.R.1 release and Obama's address

Anonymous said...

Watching the gears of this project grind for the next few years is gonna give me a stroke. Is this thing going to have to fight every single city and town and neighbor for 800 miles. Any word on the central valley folks, any resistance there? I think the people in fresno and bakersfield are probably thrilled to have a fast way out of town.

Anonymous said...

"Misses the point - to HELP UPGRADE CALTRAIN (?!) service capacity as well as connect HSR from San José to San Francisco."

Really? That's the POINT of HSR?

Clem, I wonder if you'd actually like to weigh in on what appears to be a blatently false comment here, that the Peninsula stretch of 101 (from about Millbrae to SJ) -too curvy? Really?

From google maps, it actually looks much straighter in most parts than the Caltrain ROW.

Anonymous said...

Where would one put it it on the 101? theres no room in the middle. and the sides are crammed with on and off ramps. you'd have to elevate the whole thing at enormous cost. It's just not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

Elevated, following the median. Just like the Disneyland Monorail.. It would be beloved in the right location.

Will you have to fight every town along the way? Yes! In fact people are BARELY, JUST BARELY waking up to the real plans for HSR. The fights with towns, tax payers and laywers up and down the Peninsula alone will be staggering.

Its actually amusing because up to now all you guys have been dismissing the 'deniers' by name.. like 'Martin' is against this. Its amazing to me that you really have no idea of the kind of politics you'll be dealing with. You'll probably be suprised when you find the tables turned on you and the HSR Supporters become the fanatic fringe, and the 'deniers' in fact will be the mainstream bulk of these communities... Who have fought HARD and LONG to protect their homes, property values, schools, for many years against the likes of BIG CALIFORNIA POLITICS, long before you guys showed up.

Anonymous said...

The only ones who have their panties in a bunch are the uppity folks from your neighborhood and we all know who lives there.

Anonymous said...

ONE SMALL little rich NIBMY town is not going to dictate to the 6.5
million people that voted for 1A.
Even in Menlo Park it passed by 65 percent...if you dont like living next to a 120 years old railroad move...

Anonymous said...

As long as freeways and trains run through east palo alto that's fine but we can't allow them near us. And people who live near the 101 can deal with some additional noise and unsightlyness because their homes are worth less and there's more apartments and working class and lower class people there so they are used to it. I can't see running a big noisy train through the good neighborhoods. It just doesn't make sense.

Brandon in California said...

And the ironic thing is... HSR through those bergs has a good opportunity to remove Caltrain at-grade crossings... thus reducing train horn noise and imrpving circulation.

Even if Caltrain remains at grade, there is a good chance that over time demand to use it will decrease b/c HSR would be available... And, Caltrain service levels will decrease. Or maybe shuttered as it is replaced with HSR services.

Anonymous said...

What you hsr folks don't understand is that those of us who live in Atherton and Menlo Park are a special breed of Californian. First of all our lives and homes and more important than those of people who live in places such as Fresno or the east bay. Also, we are very used to getting our way because of our special ness. Our concern isn't so much for the future of the state per the will of the people and leading the nation into the 21st century as california usually does, but its more about having to look at ugly catenaries when we are trying to bar b q by our pool. Surely you can understand that. Imagine if a train went by when you were trying to bar b q by your pool. You wouldn't like ti either.

Andy Chow said...

The notion that I don't like hearing is that the line should be underground or in a trench.

The other thing that HSR has moved beyond the up or down vote stage, in which most people vote as a concept rather than as an actual project. Most of them aren't interested enough to be involved in the planning stages either.

However, winning an election is not a license to ignore other people. Those who are involved have legitimate concerns, but don't have full knowledge of rail. For instance, transferring to the Baby Bullet doesn't make sense since both are compatible and that Baby Bullet, and Caltrain as a whole, needs improvement. Education is needed just to address some of the concerns and have a constructive dialogue.

Alex M. said...

"First of all our lives and homes and more important than those of people who live in places such as Fresno or the east bay."

Say waaaaaaaaaaah????!!! Are you trying to say that houses to people in the east bay and Fresno are expendable or something? We value our houses just as much as you guys do.

"Also, we are very used to getting our way because of our special ness."

This is exactly why people don't like you or value your opinions, you're like the spoiled child who screams whenever they don't get what they want, you're supposed to ignore them until they wise up to the fact that they aren't the centers of the universe.

We can all understand your frustration to living next to tracks but that was your choice to live next them. They've been there a lot longer than you have. In addition, with the improvements to the Caltrain ROW, removal of at-grade crossings will mean less, or even none, horns. Also, the improvements to the tracks and trains will mean less screeching. As far as I can see, most of the ROW is lined with trees which will obstruct the view of the catenaries so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

You are neglecting the facts that HSR will bring improvements to train service through your towns and could even make life easier, you just need to slow down and look at the facts instead of blindly fighting.

Anonymous said...

LOL sorry Alex, you have to read my other posts, Im with you, I was being tongue in cheek with those last two comments to make a point

Brandon in California said...

I believe Jim was inserting sarcastic humor. And I got a laugh out of it!

That said, there are some portions of the interstate highway system, including local highways, that were designed by landscape architects... withthe objective of designing somethign nice for the user... exploiting nice views and vista opportunities.

The alignment has already been selected for the CHSRA system; however, it sure woudl be 'nice' to exploit what opportunities that may exist. And, I don't think we'll have that opportunity in a trench, let alone a tunnel.

Someone tell me, are there nice views from the Caltrain corridor, other than the backyard of nearby NIMBY's?

To this end, I prefer airial structureswhere appropriate.

Anonymous said...

yes well, its slowly morphing from one 'denier' (Martin), to one neighborhood, to one small town, (woops that two small towns, Menlo Park, Atherton, and plus those darn naysayers in Palo Alto - woops that's three, oh and San Carlos, and...

You're giving a whole new meaning to the term 'denier'. Hmmmm Who's in denial?

Anonymous said...

@anno..NO its not it a small group of loud NIBBYS screaming about how horrible It will be..AS if living next to Railroad tracks today is heaven.SO all those yes votes that knew what HSR was going thru are saying no??? Dont think so.I know everyone I know in San Mateo milbray ect ect that voted for it have not changed there minds!!

Alex M. said...

@ Jim -

Haha, whoops! I had a feeling when I read it that you were being sarcastic, nobody would honestly say they were spoiled if they really were. I just wanted to get it off my chest. It'll be a good deterrent for whiny Menlo/Atherton on the blog I guess. Sorry for the confusion!

Spokker said...

Newsom wants the HSR to go all the way to the Transbay terminal. Whether it does or not, you've got the powers that be in SF and SJ, not to mention Caltrain, that want this rail line built through the peninsula. I don't see how a couple towns can really block this project.

Spokker said...

It would seem to me that the biggest obstacle for high speed rail is money, not NIMBYs.

Spokker said...

"Martin Engel may never admit this, but Menlo Park and Atherton should: unless they plan to pay for it themselves there is no chance whatsoever that an HSR tunnel will be built through their communities. None. And maybe that's the point here - Engel is merely trying to whip up public controversy in hopes of derailing the project (his term, not ours)."

Let me add, this is what has been going on in South Los Angeles regarding the Expo Line. There is a major personality in transit advocacy who wants the Expo line trenched. Well, there is no money for trenches. If the rail line must be trenched, then there won't be a rail line at all.

This is what I think Martin is trying to do. If a court rules that the HSR must be put underground on the peninsula, then there will be no HSR at all simply because it is cost-prohibitive.

Maybe we should build a portal at SF and a portal at SJ and trains can just teleport to their destinations, bypassing the mid-peninsula entirely! Not against portal technology, but for doing it right!

Anonymous said...

This was interesting - on running hsr on the outside and calrain on the inside for better operations flexibility and the ability to run caltrain on some short sections on one track rather than two - reducing row to only 3 tracks in tight spots.... atherton....
One other interesting fact is that in certain locations along the peninsula, Caltrain service could theoretically run in both directions on a single track without trains ever conflicting with each other. (Hello Atherton! Take note!) This naturally depends on the density and scheduling of Caltrain traffic, but it opens up the possibility of having only three tracks in certain locations, as dictated by the operational service pattern (Hello Atherton! Service pattern, not your back yards!) Switching to a three-track configuration from a four-track configuration is much simpler if you go from fast-slow-slow-fast (4) to fast-bidirectional-fast (3)... a simple turnout, and presto. On the other hand, trying to neck down from slow-fast-fast-slow (4) to any combination of 3 tracks invariably requires expensive flyovers to avoid frequent fouling of HSR traffic by local trains

Brandon in California said...

Single track = significantly reduced operating flexibility. I cannot imagine a proposal including that will get any traction.

Anonymous said...

I attended the meeting at S.F. State last Tuesday, here's a bit of summary of what was presented:

Kopp estimates total system cost at 33 billion. Of this, 2-3 is expected to come from local transit agencies, for example, OCTA, the Orange County Transportation Authority, has contributed 7 million for engineering work on LA-Anaheim.

For the rest, they're also looking for 12-16 billion of Fed money and 6.5-7 billion of private money. They say they have 5 companies interested in investing. I asked if there were plans to issue stock to the public as was suggested on this blog, they responded there was no plan at the time. Based on the OCTA example, if CAHSR does have a cash flow problem, the best way to keep things moving may be to urge local agencies to step in - similar to how local agencies have pledged funds to keep bridge construction going in the Bay Area through the state budget delay.

For the SJ-SF segment, some stations may be off the main line to allow for express service bypassing them. Some construction may require temporary easements.

One thing worth mentioning is that the HSR planning is done with needs for the year 2035 in mind... a bit shortsighted seeing how that's only 15 years after the start of service.

Everyone in the crowd was supportive - nothing like the NIMBYism on the peninsula meetings.

Anonymous said...

What are the advantages/disadvantages of opting for a station in Redwood City vs. Palo Alto and which city is likely to get the station and where will it go?