A bullet train linking California’s Central Valley to Silicon Valley is supposed to be running by 2025. But certain deadline for the multi-billion dollar high-speed rail have been pushed back, which puts San Jose and other cities in the train’s path on the hook for more planning and up-front spending.
San Jose’s City Council on Tuesday will vote on amending its contract with the federally funded California High Speed Rail Authority to reflect the change in schedule. Under the revised terms, San Jose’s reimbursement for administrative costs will bump up from $270,000 to $869,688.
Last year, the state rail authority tapped the connection from Bakersfield to San Jose as the statewide priority, as well as the line from San Jose to San Francisco. About 21 miles of the railway runs through San Jose city limits, generally aligning with the Caltrain and Union Pacific tracks from Coyote Valley through the Monterey corridor, Communications Hill, Tamien Station and into Diridon Station in downtown.
Now, however, the city has to study alternatives proposed by the state rail authority, which could require railroad reconstruction and may significantly impact a fire station, a maintenance yard, bike paths and adjacent neighborhoods. It potentially requires property acquisition, either voluntary or by eminent domain.
Under its agreement with the state, San Jose will conduct engineering reviews and investigate conflicts in plans with the existing landscape. The deal requires the city to drum up various agreements to change infrastructure, rights-of-way, grade separations and maintenance.
The 220-mph train would cut down the three-hour commute from the state’s agricultural center to the Bay Area to an hour. That would make it easier for Bay Area workers to escape the region’s sky-high housing costs and may inspire more companies to build workplaces near transit centers like San Jose’s downtown train station.
But the high-speed railway has been plagued by delays, litigation and mismanagement, which makes its eventual arrival in San Jose uncertain. With help from a voter-approved bond, California managed to raise $12.2 billion for the valley-to-valley express train—still far below the estimated $20.7 billion cost of finalizing the project.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for October 3, 2017:
- The city approved nearly $19 million in tax breaks for four residential towers in downtown. Those subsidies will result in annual recurring revenue of about $1.6 million for the city, which means it’ll take nearly a dozen years for the taxpayer-funded investment to pay off.
- In the past decade, the City Auditor’s Office has issued 798 recommendations to improve city services and save money. But 27 percent of those recommendations had yet to be implemented by June 30 of this year. In her status report on open recommendations, City Auditor Sharon Erickson notes that the San Jose Police Department still needs to strengthen oversight of its officers’ secondary employment. She also highlights the city’s IT department, which needs to finalize a new security policy. Meanwhile, about 29 of her outstanding recommendations come with potential cost savings of at least $12.8 million.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260
This article has been updated.