HSRA denies it has eminent domain maps sought by Palo Alto
- Published Friday, February 19, 2010, by the Palo Alto Daily Post
Rail agency denies it has route maps
It previously said it would release maps
The California High-Speed Rail Authority now says it doesn't have any maps showing the homes it will need to seize to make way for train tracks.
Earlier, two agency officials promised to release the maps.
The Post filed a public records request on Jan. 18 asking for such documents. The rail authority didn't respond until Feb. 11 -- well past the 10 business days required by law. In his tardy response, deputy director Jeff Barker said he would track down the documents and provide them on Tuesday.
Agency admits it will need land
But on Wednesday, Rachel Weninger, staff services analyst for the rail authority, told the Post the railroad wouldn't start collecting information on property acquisitions until after it releases its alternative analysis report on March 4.
Weninger said most of the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose is wide enough for high-speed rail's various design options.
"However, in areas where the Caltrain corridor is narrower, the use of some design options would likely require the acquisition of some property," Weninger said in an e-mail message.
Officials in Palo Alto are still waiting for maps that Dominic Spaethling, the regional manager for High-Speed Rail Authority, promised to provide during a community meeting Feb. 9 in response to a request by Mayor Pat Burt.
Spaethling responded, "If you need to see them tomorrow, let's make the request and see if we can get them."
Yet nothing still has been provided.
Council member Larry Klein, who is chairing a council subcommittee on high-speed rail, said, "I don't know what the big deal is. I think the maps and information should be readily available to us. This delay hurts the credibility of the authority."