Summary of June 5 Council Discussion on High Speed Rail Alignment

Our members who attended the June 5 Council meeting and spoke in favor of the Downtown Elevated alignment were Connie Rogers, Carolyn Tognetti, Janet Espinosa and Pat Reinhart. Other speakers were about evenly divided in their opinions. The Council seems very reluctant to make a decision about the High Speed Rail alignment, even though they were assured by Ben Tripousis, head of HSR in Northern CA, that HSR would pay all associated costs. If the downtown elevated alignment is chosen, much of the construction could take place off site, not in downtown. The Right of Way required for the downtown elevated alignment would be 60’ plus about 50’ more during construction. Tripousis stated that the construction period would be about 3 years, but HSR would assure that downtown remains open for business. Mark Turner from the Chamber of Commerce and some Council members would like more economic analysis about the impacts downtown, both short and long term. At the end of the discussion the Council asked for more information about alternative routes and Mr. Tripousis said he would talk to City Staff about that. He also said the timeline for the Environmental Impact Report is moving further out, but still expected by the end of 2017.