HSR-hostile Palo Alto officials lobby US Senators in Wash., D.C.
- Published Tuesday, April 20, 2010, by the Palo Alto Daily Post
Senators in the dark
Didn't know about Peninsula's concerns over high-speed rail
Aides to U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein didn't know that a lot of Peninsula residents are concerned about the proposed high-speed rail project, Palo Alto City Council member Larry Klein told his colleagues last night.
He also said that the $2.25 billion the state supposedly received from Washington to build the railroad is not a done deal.
Klein and Mayor Pat Burt went to Washington, D.C., last week and met with aides to Boxer and Feinstein, as well as Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto.
An issue that's close to home
Eshoo's staff was well aware of the situation, Klein said. That's not surprising since the railroad is planned to go near Eshoo's Menlo Park residence, and the congresswoman has previously raised questions about the noise and pollution the project could generate.
It's news to them
But Klein said the concerns of residents were "news" to both the staff of Boxer, who is running for re-election this fall, and Feinstein, a San Francisco resident.
"Frankly, I don't think they've heard very much about this from other parts of California," said Klein.
Klein said he and Burt explained to the senators' staffs about the local concerns over the damage an elevated railroad would do to Palo Alto.
Klein said he also learned during meeting with the Federal Railroad Administration that it's not certain that the state will be getting $2.25 billion from the federal government for the railroad, despite what the White House said on Jan. 28.
Klein said he was told the decision is far from final and the state needs to meet numerous requirements.
"This is not something that's automatic," Klein said.
If the federal funds fall through, the only money that would be lined up for the $43 billion Los Angeles-to-San Francisco railroad would be the $9.9 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008.
Klein said that an employee at the railroad administration asked, "Don't you guys from California want $2 billion?" Klein replied that not all gifts are wanted.
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