Mayor Chuck Reed sent a letter to the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) today, asking that the group reconsider a decision regarding the route of the Sacramento/San Francisco/Los Angeles line, which may pass through San Jose’s Diridon station.
In December, the CHRSA board decided to proceed with two options through the city—along highways 87 and 280, or along the Caltrain right-of-way through Diridon Station. The board rejected a proposed underground route, estimating that it would cost almost six times as much money.
In his letter, Reed points out that residents and businesses attending a “Good Neighbor” meeting, which was held by the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, were unanimously opposed to eliminating the underground option.
Reed asks that further study be done in spite of the additional costs and the possible environmental impact on the groundwater of tunneling.
“We do not seek to slow the EIR process to the point it could jeopardize the ‘shovel-readiness’ of the project in the eyes of federal funders,” Reed writes in the letter, which was also signed by Councilmembers Sam Liccardo and Pierluigi Oliverio. “We ask that the underground option be further studied.”
Local leaders hope that the High Speed Rail line could create new jobs while bringing downtown businesses additional traffic and revenue. The total estimated cost for the rail line is $45 billion, with funding coming from federal, state, and private interests. It was approved by voters as Proposition 1A in 2008 and is expected to create 130,000 jobs throughout the state.
*UPDATE: California High Speed Rail Authority boardmember Rod Diridon reports that the underground option will be studied fully during the next phase of the DEIR through March.
Diridon’s email to Mayor Chuck Reed and the Councilmembers said: “I have asked the engineers to work closely with the councilmembers involved and the mayor to schedule in-home meetings to share current and future data as soon as available and will attend those myself when possible.”