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Menlo Park to Appeal High Speed Rail Ruling

City wants reevaluation of rail system's environmental impacts.

Menlo Park’s City Council announced Wednesday that the city will appeal the ruling in the Atherton et al. v. California High Speed Rail Authority case, citing a lack of document specificity and standardization as major flaws in the project plan.

City Council is concerned that the High Speed Rail Project’s Environmental Impact Report does not consider the , which would enable Caltrains and High Speed Rail trains to share existing tracks that would be augmented. The number of tracks that would be required to support such this has been debated by numerous cities along the Peninsula that are members of the Peninsula Cities Consortium since the project was proposed.

Menlo Park’s City Council met Monday afternoon in a closed session in the city administration building to discuss their view on the matter as well as whether they would pursue litigation against the High Speed Rail Authority.

“At the closed session, the City Council reiterated their belief that the newly proposed ‘blended system’ serves as a promising long-term solution, as it would improve the use of the existing right of way, provide electrification and potentially provide a quieter, more efficient system,” said Chip Taylor, public works director for the City of Menlo Park.

Taylor said all the documents related to the project must be standardized before the city will consider them acceptable, noting that all of the Environmental Impact Reports have focused on a four-track system, and failed to outline the impact of an elevated structure.

The City Council also reiterated that they still do not find the ridership projections in the business plan credible. Councilmembers asserted that the project plan must use data that is credible before finalizing decisions.  

“For the City Council to fully support the blended system, the HSRA must provide certainty that the four-track system is no longer under consideration, that the ridership study will be redone, and that the project will not be exempt from the current CEQA process,” said Mayor Kirsten Keith.

“The last point is important because if the Attorney General rules that the blended system violates Prop 1A, and a streamlined CEQA process is in place, that could be very damaging to the Bay Area. It is our hope that the HSRA will understand and adopt our position."

Legal paperwork has not been filed yet.

The High Speed Rail Authority will be presenting the Revised 2012 Business Plan Thursday April 12 at the Milton Marks Conference Center Auditorium in San Francisco. 

Christopher Parkinson April 12, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The system is bad. All of it. I am starting to read Professor White's book Railroaded where in there we see everything being repeated just by different players. The whole system must be redone. We must create a quasi government HSR organization that is for profit. We must sell shares of the stock and when enough money is had build it. We can then couple bonds into it. This government huckstering of bonds will kill us in the end and just like the 1875 trains will cause the state to declare bankruptcy and the tax payers to bail it out. Is that what we are willing to gamble with? Then of course we talk about how we build it. But we are not even at a stage that warrants moving forward. Are we ready to embark on something that the past has told us is fraught with insider dealings, scandals, and corruption? Time to end this system now and restart the whole thing over.

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