Menlo Park, Atherton councils urge no on Prop. 1A HSR bond
- Published Wednesday, October 1, 2008, by the Menlo Park Almanac
MP, Atherton councils urge residents to oppose Prop 1-A, the high-
speed rail measure
By Rory Brown
Just vote no. That's the message from Menlo Park and Atherton city
council members regarding Proposition 1A, the high-speed rail bond
measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.
In separate meetings, the councils passed resolutions opposed to
the $9.95 billion bond measure, which would provide the first stage
of funding to build a high-speed passenger train to connect San
Francisco and Los Angeles.
Under the current plan, high-speed trains would use the Caltrain
corridor to shoot up and down the Peninsula -- a route both councils
strongly oppose due to potential impacts on homes and businesses
located near the train tracks.
The Atherton council voted 4-0 to oppose Proposition 1A, following
a Sept. 24 high-speed rail study session.
The Menlo Park council voted 3-1, with John Boyle opposed, at its
Sept. 23 meeting, to oppose the bond measure.
The mayors of both towns -- Jim Janz of Atherton and Andy Cohen of
Menlo Park -- did not vote because they live within 500 feet of the
"I oppose [Proposition 1A] because of the impacts to Menlo Park,"
said Menlo Park Councilman Richard Cline. He noted the potential
construction, aesthetic, and property-value impacts of running the
estimated $45 billion train through the Caltrain corridor. That
helped make his opposition the "easiest decision" he's made as a
council member, he said.
"I suspect that high-speed rail, as presently planned ... has a
very high probability of being a financial disaster," said Atherton
Councilman Jim Dobbie. He questioned the budget and ridership
projections of the high-speed rail system concerns echoed by
several residents at the Sept. 24 study session. "I can see no reason
why I would ever consider voting for the high-speed rail project,"
Mr. Dobbie said.
But Menlo Park Councilman John Boyle, the lone councilman in the
two cities not opposed to the bond measure, said the opposition to
the project is "shortsighted."
"I think we're missing the big picture," Mr. Boyle said, pointing
to the potential environmental benefits and congestion relief that
high-speed rail could provide statewide. He noted that Menlo Park,
Atherton and other cities along the proposed route would have a
chance to weigh in on the specifics of the plan if and when the bond