Monday, August 27, 2007

High Time for High-Speed Rail in California?

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSA) held a public meeting last week to hear public input about the proposal for a high-speed rail line crossing over from the Central Valley through either Pacheco Pass or Altamont Pass. Their draft proposal is open to comment until September 28, 2007.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that legislator support for the $37 billion project could wane if the proposal to connect the trail line over the Altamont Pass and via a bridge to San Francisco passes.
"I can't believe anyone is serious about a proposal that would put a bridge or a tunnel right through the middle of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose. "That's not going to happen."

Governor Schwarzenegger allocated $20.7 million for the project, far less than the $104.2 million the high-speed rail board requested.

An article in this month's issue of Metro Magazine highlights the proposal, and discusses some of the hurdles the CSHA faces. Many proponents of the high-speed rail argue that the line will reduce the amount of traffic on major north-south corridors by mitigating the dependence on automobiles. CHSA's executive director says of the project:
“We get a bad rap because we are attached to our cars, but it’s because we don’t have a choice. When we do have a choice, we use it,” Morshed says. “Once it’s there, people will use it. They always do.”

No comments: