Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Building High-Speed Rail over the dead bodies of opposing elected officials.

Pleasanton is a 'pleasant town' in the East Bay of the Bay area.  They are not on the CHSRA route from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  Therefore, the Rail Authority, as a "consolation prize," is offering them an upgraded faster train through the Altamont cut, through Pleasanton, down to San Jose.

As usual, the rail authority has no interests in anything or anybody that gets in their way. Pleasanton will be 'awarded' a train cutting right through the middle of town, whether they want it or not.  The town doesn't want it.

The reason this article is being presented here is to hold it up as an example of a town that has learned Nancy Reagan's admonition:  Just Say No!  Why can't all the Peninsula cities agree to Just Say No?  We do not want high-speed rail going through the centers of our towns and cities on the Peninsula.  There; that isn't so hard, is it?

Actually we don't want and don't need high-speed rail in California, but that's a separate discussion.  There have been endless debates and discussions about running high-speed rail on Caltrain's corridor.  Both rail organizations (CHSRA and Caltrain) believe it is in their best interests.  They are in the railroad business and therefore have the blessings of all the Powers and Gods to do whatever they wish.  And, these rail promoters will tell us it's all in our best interests.  And most of us still believe them. Joe Simitian is one of those believers.  Joe, the Brooklyn Bridge is not for sale; don't believe them.

The voters of California believed the rail authority in November, 2008 and supported the Bond measure for HSR.  The voters were lied to. Even a State Appeals Court agreed that the bond measure language was marketing hype, and therefore not the truth.

So, now California, unless it pulls up its socks and gets rid of this outrageous nuisance, is stuck with a train we can't afford, that will carry only rich people who can afford the tickets.  And we all, rich and poor, get to pay for this train, forever.

The modus operandi of the CHSRA is to promote their railroad schemes even without a glimmer of sufficient funding to build it.  The money will come, they believe, if they can only start digging holes in the ground up and down the state. 

The tragic news is that even though one of the Pleasanton Councilmen said they would get to build the train "over my dead body," the rail authority is prepared to do just that; i.e., build their trains over all our dead bodies.
High Speed Train Through Downtown Pleasanton? `Over My Dead Body' Councilman Says

Pleasanton City Council members say they're against the idea of allowing high speed train service to pass through the city.

By Linda Park | 8:16am
Pleasanton City Council members on Tuesday said they're against an idea to have high speed trains whizzing through downtown Pleasanton.

The California High Speed Rail Authority gave a presentation to the council at the Tuesday night meeting  about the possibility of having a passenger rail project from Stockton to San Jose pass through Pleasanton.

Will Gimple, regional manager for the Altamont Rail Corridor Project, said the goal is to develop regional service in this corridor to better connect regions of Northern California and to feed into the high speed rail lines that are going to be developed elsewhere. 

Possibilities include having the rail line go through downtown Pleasanton through tunnels or on elevated tracks.

Councilman Jerry Thorne said he strongly opposed the idea.

“It’s basically over my dead body,” Thorne said.

City Manager Nelson Fialho said that there is no railroad corridor in downtown Pleasanton available for such a use. The area proposed currently accommodates parking, the Firehouse Arts Center, Lions Wayside Park and 250 single-family homes.

“I can’t be more strong in my objection to having it go through downtown Pleasanton,” Vice-Mayor Cheryl Cook-Kallio said. “It seems that there’s a misunderstanding of what’s there.”

Councilman Matt Sullivan wanted to know who would have the authority to approve a plan to have a railway go through Pleasanton without the city’s approval.

City attorney Jonathan Lowell responded that the city would contest such an action and would go to court to stop it.

“I can’t fathom under any circumstances putting this alignment through downtown Pleasanton,” Cook-Kallio said. “I just, in the strongest terms, want to indicate to you all that universally, we will be extremely difficult and lengthy in terms of dealing with us, and would use every option at our disposal to ensure that it goes somewhere else.”

Cook-Kallio said it would make more sense to put the tracks along Interstates 580 and 680, an idea that has also been raised by Livermore residents concerned about the project, which is in the early stages.

Rail project supporters want to narrow possible routes so the project can move forward with an environmental impact report.

Officials first brought the rail project to the public in November 2009 to introduce and gather comments. They plan to unveil station designs and hold public workshops next winter.

A draft environmental impact report is expected to be completed in June 2012. Officials then would hold public meetings to review the report.

Cost for the project, which spans 110 miles, will be up to $7 billion. There is no funding source yet, but the project may be eligible for high-speed rail bonds.

It was decided that a meeting with Pleasanton residents needed to be organized to discuss the issue further.