Gilroy favors Pacheco over Coe for high-speed rail
- Published Tuesday, August 31, 2004, in the Gilroy Dispatch
City supports Pacheco Pass route for Bullet Train
By Peter Crowley
Gilroy -- As the whistle bows [sic] today to end public comments on
an environmental impact report for a proposed trans-California high-
speed train, the Gilroy City Council still has not commented on the
proposal despite the fact that it could stop in Gilroy.
City staff, however, submitted a positive reaction recently to the
California High-Speed Rail Authority.
The authority opened the public comment period on Feb. 13 and
extended it on March 23. If it decides to continue with the project,
the next step would be to respond to those comments and prepare a
final EIR that may designate a route and list of stations. Gilroy
and Morgan Hill are possible stops.
The electric-powered bullet trains would get riders from San
Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours -- or from Gilroy to
Los Angeles in an hour and 45 minutes -- reaching speeds of 220 mph
in rural areas and 125 in cities. Later phases would extend lines to
Sacramento and San Diego.
The trains would cost about $30 billion to establish, most of which
would be publicly funded. A $10 billion bond to begin construction
was on state ballots for November, but many legislators expect to
delay this vote to at least 2006.
Gilroy city staff sent the authority a recommendation favoring a
train track through Pacheco Pass and counseling against a proposal
to route the track through Henry Coe State Park instead, according
to Mayor Al Pinheiro.
City Community Development Director Wendie Rooney said the staff took
a positive response in order to have a good working relationship with
the high-speed rail authority.
"We'd like to be a partner with them," she said.
City staff still have concerns, Rooney said, regarding noise from an
elevated train track through town and the effect of track vibration
on Gilroy's historic buildings.
The council asked staff on June 7 to research the plan insofar as it
could affect Gilroy. At that same meeting, City Councilman Bob Dillon
made a one-man stand against the train, saying California cannot
Morgan Hill City Council members voted unanimously Aug. 18 to oppose
any route through Coe Park, but they did not advocate any other route
instead. Only Mayor Dennis Kennedy spoke in favor of having a stop in
On Aug. 17, Santa Clara County supervisors voted 3-2 to support a
rail route either through Pacheco Pass or through Coe. They would
oppose an alternate route that would send a spur line to San Jose,
rather than a necessary stop there. This alignment was dropped by the
authority, but some groups, including the Sierra Club, have urged the
authority to reconsider it. It would cross between the Bay Area and
Central Valley through Altamont Pass, stop in Fremont and cross the
bay to San Francisco. From Fremont, spur lines would go to Oakland
and San Jose.
Supervisor Don Gage, who represents the county's southern half, voted
for the resolution but is against running the train through Coe Park,
preferring the Pacheco route, according to Edwin Chan, a Gage
A Pacheco Pass crossing could have a stop in either Gilroy or Morgan
Hill. A crossing further north, which would save time and stops
between Los Angeles and San Francisco, would either cross through Coe
Park through a series of tunnels or bypass it through wildland to the
Authority members have said California's population of 36 million
will rise to 59 million by 2040 and that the current network of
highways and airways is insufficient to serve this quantity of people.
Peter Crowley covers crime and other public safety matters for
The Dispatch. You can reach him at peterc@...
[BATN: See also:
Morgan Hill apes SCCo. Altamont HSR route opposition