Taking one more step toward next month's final decision on California's proposed high speed rail system, the California High Speed Rail Authority— the agency charged with all things high speed train-related— came out and said its piece: They are in support of the route through Pacheco Pass, not through the East Bay's Altamont Pass. The Altamont Pass route has been considered less efficient and more damaging to the environment— specifically, it would impact the safety of Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Congress also insinuated that it may pull support of the project should it follow that path. Yet environmentalists (including the Sierra Club, natch) argue that the Pacheco Pass will also eff up the ecosystem and promote urban sprawl (property speculation, commence!) . Oh, and there's also a duel-line option on the table, backed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. This one suggests the use of both lines, and adds $5 billion to the project budget. Did we mention the cloud of lawsuits looming over this whole operation? Sloppy.
· California High Speed Rail Authority [website]
· Staff backs bullet train's route over Pacheco Pass instead of Altamont [East Bay Times]
· CA High Speed Rail System Hanging in Balance [Curbed SF]
[Image courtesy PCL Foundation]