Reporter channels Diridon anti-Altamont bias on HSR route
- 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
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.