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Reporter channels Diridon anti-Altamont bias on HSR route

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  • 7/21 Redwood City Daily
    Published Thursday, July 21, 2005, in the Redwood City Daily News Fast rail may bypass part of Peninsula By David Smith Daily News Staff Writer California s
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2005
      Published Thursday, July 21, 2005, in the Redwood City Daily News

      Fast rail may bypass part of Peninsula

      By David Smith
      Daily News Staff Writer

      California's newest budget may mean that part of the Peninsula could
      be passed over for potential high-speed rail access.

      The budget contained money for a study requested by the Federal
      Railway Administration and the California Attorney General's Office
      that will now look at the Altamont Corridor as a potential
      passageway for the railway from the Central Valley.

      At issue is what route the high-speed railway will take to come to
      the Bay Area -- whether it comes up the Pacheco Corridor of Route
      152 from Los Banos or the Altamont Corridor of Interstate 580 from
      Stockton.

      The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board dropped the Altamont
      Corridor from consideration in 1999 on the basis that early data
      came back saying the best way into the Bay Area would be the Pacheco
      Corridor, which comes up through Gilroy.

      If the Altamont Corridor became the project's route, the railway
      would split three ways in Union City, with one route heading to
      Oakland, another to San Jose, and the third heading across the
      Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge near the Dumbarton Bridge.

      That third way would then enter the Caltrain alignment north of
      Redwood City, bypassing areas like Palo Alto, said Rod Diridon, a
      California High-Speed Rail Authority board member.

      The study, which would delay the project 1-1/2 years, came about as
      the result of outcry from East Bay leaders during public hearings
      on the project.

      The new study will focus on the Northern Mountain Crossing Area,
      an area bordered on the north by Altamont while Pacheco forms the
      southern boundary. "We ought to strike while the iron is hot,"
      former San Mateo County Supervisor Mike Nevin said. Nevin is the
      chairman of the Transbay Terminal Authority and call high-speed
      rail a "tremendous opportunity" for the region.

      "I don't mind studies, but I don't like delays."

      The entire project, which began in 1996, has cost $30 billion,
      and if it is delayed by a year and a half, the project loses
      $1.5 billion in buying power, making it more expensive.

      According to his spokesperson, state Senate President Pro Tem Don
      Perata, D-East Bay, backed keeping a bond off this year's special
      election because hew was wary of putting two bonds on one ballot.
      His spokesperson added that he plans to try to have money for the
      project put into his own transportation bill.
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