By Bay City News Service
Three high-speed rail meetings -- in Gilroy, San Jose and Merced -- are scheduled in the next two weeks to provide the public with information about the schedule and progress related to a portion of the network.
Tonight (June 28) in Gilroy, members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority will present the results of the preliminary Alternatives Analysis report for the branch between San Jose and Merced.
Similar presentations are scheduled for Wednesday, July 7, in San Jose and Thursday, July 8, in Merced.
Based on feedback received from several dozen meetings with community leaders, local officials and residents, the analysis addresses potential station locations and track alignments and seeks to whittle down the options for further study.
In Gilroy, the analysis recommends engineers continue to study proposed stations in downtown and an alternative location east of the city limits. Track alignments between Morgan Hill and Gilroy are also under consideration.
Portions of the report related to San Jose address the station's location and rail alignment through an adjacent neighborhood. According to the study, an elevated high-speed rail station above the existing Caltrain Diridon Station is preferable to an underground station due to poor soil and groundwater conditions.
The report also outlines the requirements for the next phase of design and environmental analysis, which will be incorporated into a draft environmental impact report for this branch of the 800-mile system.
In January, the rail project was awarded $2.25 billion in federal stimulus money, as part of $8 billion awarded to states across the country for President Obama's plan to develop a nationwide network of high-speed rail service.
The state was also granted $23 million for four new station tracks at San Jose's Diridon Station.
The most current estimated cost to build the high-speed rail system between Sacramento and San Diego is about $45 billion, according to the rail authority website.
The June 28 meeting in Gilroy is at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Additional meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, July 7, at the Garden Community Center in San Jose and Thursday, July 8, at the Merced Senior Center in Merced.
All the meetings begin at 6 p.m.
For more information, go to www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov.