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Officials pledge commitment to 'blended' rail system

Original post made on Mar 14, 2012

A lower price tag, fewer tracks and a fresh commitment to fund rail improvements in north and south California are among the features that the California High-Speed Rail Authority plans to unveil in its revised business plan, rail officials told a state Senate committee Tuesday night at a public hearing in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 11:50 AM

Comments (11)

Posted by Dubious
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Beware of wolves in the henhouse. Despite Sen. Simitian's repeated attempts for confirmation that the blended system would not ultimately grow into a four-track aerial structure (per the Program EIR), the two Board members would not commit beyond their personal preference for a two-track system. Sen. Simitian asked them to be creative in how to guarantee a lesser impact on the Peninsula, such as by tying funding to the smaller footprint, but they would not bite. Mr. Richard coyly noted that his personal preference didn't matter since the project needs to conform with Prop 1A's aggressive goals. Mr. Hartnett added that Authority conversations are now about the blended approach, appearing to imply that the larger plan was off the table, but without committing that it was or that he would put his personal effort into making this the case. Electrification is the ploy to get HSR legally linked to the Caltrain corridor. Without a guarantee that the blended plan will be the final design, by agreeing to take Prop 1A money for electrification, the Peninsula is only making itself more vulnerable to a potentially much more disruptive and divisive HSR program down the road.

Posted by Will
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm

..."blended system" a "rethinking of the whole high-speed-rail approach." Yes the new idea will be a Not Very High Speed Rail or Partly High Speed their not sure yet, brilliant. That's why they getthe big bucks.

Doesn't anyone see there is a bigger issue.
It’s like, if a TV salesman promised that if you sign the papers now your 60 inch wall mounted HD flat panel would only be 1400 dollars but only 700 with a factory rebate. Then after you signed the price was tripled and the factory rebate was in doubt. Oh and the wall mount may not be doable and certainly won’t be included in the price. Also delivery date is a bit questionable. But you did sign the contract so you'll have to start paying. So you're a little peeved. But wait don't feel bad, what about if the salesman throws in a battery for the TV remote? How about that deal? Please are you all that cheap to bribe?

Why not just scrap the thing with a voter proposition? With the same proposition use the same money for real insrustructure, rail, and highway up grades and maybe include a relatively small pot for seed investment in new energy and transit technologies. Real California jobs and real progress, what a concept.

Posted by Ralph Waldo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

The fancy video showing an HSR consist passing a new CalTrain, both going in the same direction, is a fantasy. FRA would have to alter long standing prohibitions against operating fast trains on freight ROW for this to come true. All it takes is one signaling screwup and the wreckage will be frightening.

As California politicians drive all of us over the financial cliff, one wonders if there is any individual in the Legislature who can call this for what it is?

Posted by Tim Wulff
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

To borrow billions in this environment is simply the most irresponsible madness imaginable.

And this for the sake of the special interest of unions and at the expense of the individual and several future generations.


Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm

NO. There isn't a politician out there that will call this for what it is - a boondoggle. They are all beholden to organized labor who will be the primary recipients of jobs to build this ridiculous project. Guaranteed they also figure on being the people employed to run it. This project is nothing but political payback for the support of labor unions. Period.

Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Plenty of local electeds have stepped up and taken a stand. Keep it factual.

Posted by Ralph Waldo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

Well truth, I would appreciate it if you could provide a list. My observation of the locals is that most have resorted to the straddle of supporting HSR so long as it is "done right". This, of course, is not really taking a stand at all, on the off chance that they can cash in politically if by some miracle the project gets underway in the local region, or, if public opinion finally blocks it they can claim that it was "done wrong" and they were against it from the start.

As others have noted above, this entire project typifies the ultimate in fiscal irresponsibility. Is that factual enough?

Posted by george
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Open trench through the Peninsula cities, with park space and high-density mixed use development above the trench, and I'm all for it.

Posted by Some Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm

This all reminds me of the Simpsons episode Marge vs. The Monorail.

Web Link

Posted by R.Gordon
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

In the past, we did not turn to comic strips or satirists like Jon Stewart or Colbert, but they are the best source for the news on a large scale.......Maher does it weekly and is better at it because he is an Atheist and doesn't have religion make decisions.
The OFFICIALS, for a rare instance, are doing something right on the road to introduce electricity back into our rail is just a sign of the beginning.
Our old electric system was killed after the war not for any reason except the auto and the rubber industries......How many bil and mil lionaires came out of those industries.
BTW Maher is probably 1/100th as rich as most of the local upper 1%, but has probably, with his million dollar support for Obama has probably outdone almost ALL of you to help not only California, but the Country....My hat is off to Lorene Jobs...Mrs Steve to you for the millions she is putting into the citizens who most of you have nothing but contempt for.....the Latinos who are even legalized.

Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Waldo, here is a hint. It is called Google. Put in a name of a council member and high speed rail and see for yourself. Our city led the initial resistance and that was a result of electeds taking note. Since that time our city has continued to hold the position that this is underground or two tracks. How is that straddling? You want us all to reject it outright? No, this council has not done that.

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