After Tour of Peninsula Rail Corridor, Council Calls on Menlo Park and Atherton to Stop High-Speed Rail Lawsuit
By Joe Arellano
Today, I joined stakeholders and elected officials from Peninsula cities to tour the Peninsula rail corridor and discuss issues related to the future California High-Speed Rail.
The tour, hosted by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, was convened in response to a July 29, 2010 letter from Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman that expressed concerns about an attempt by five Peninsula cities to slow down the implementation of high-speed rail.
The tour also came on the heels of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declaring this week that California is, “…way ahead of the curve on high-speed rail,” and High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelef van Ark remarking that, “If you don’t get the environmental process done by September 2011, you won’t get the funding…”
After today’s tour, I issued the following statement:
“Those who oppose high-speed rail understand that delay is their best weapon to kill the project. There are ways to resolve issues and there are ways to stop progress. We greatly appreciate Assemblyman Hill’s effort to bridge the differences amongst his constituents. However, the cities of Menlo Park and Atherton are continuing to move forward with a challenge to the environmental impact report of the San Francisco-San Jose portion of the high-speed rail line.
We refuse to stand by and let two small cities de-rail this historic multi-billion dollar project. By slowing the environmental process down, Menlo Park and Atherton are trying to run out the clock on high-speed rail.
We understand the concerns of Peninsula residents and we are sensitive to their apprehension about having high-speed rail in their community. But we need to remember that Prop 1A was supported by over 60 percent of San Mateo and Santa Clara County voters, and statewide it passed with over 53 percent support. The people of California and the Peninsula are counting on all of us to deliver.
High-speed rail is the perfect opportunity to execute a bold, statewide vision to prove to the people of California that we are still capable of accomplishing big things. However, doing big things takes big people. Instead of filing their petition to stop the EIR, Menlo Park and Atherton should take a step back and work with the High-Speed Rail Authority to address the concerns of residents, find an agreeable resolution and continue to move the process forward.”