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Setback for HSR in San Jose to San Francisco Environmental Analysis

Three neighboring Peninsula cities scored a major victory in court by forcing the CA High Speed Rail Authority to reopen and revise the environmental document for the San Jose to San Francisco segment that they had hoped was finally completed.
November 13, 2011, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"A coalition that includes Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto scored a legal victory over the California High Speed Rail Authority Thursday when a Sacramento judge ruled that the state agency has to reopen and revise its environmental analysis of the controversial line.

Menlo Park and Atherton were also involved in an earlier lawsuit, which forced the rail authority to "decertify" and revise its program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The authority certified the document for the second time in September 2010."

The three cities and the non-profits that joined them hope the High Speed Rail Authority chooses an East Bay approach to San Francisco via the Dumbarton Bridge rather than the Pacheco Pass that would enable the train to go from San Jose up the Peninsula to SF via the Caltrain corridor.

From Mercury News: Judge: Bullet train must ax route through South Bay, Peninsula, for now: "Despite the judge's main ruling, the rail authority released a statement claiming victory since Kenny rejected other allegations that its rider estimates were flawed, that underground tracks should be studied for the Peninsula and that an alternative route involving local highways deserves merit."

From Examiner: Rail Authority must redo EIR again: "The Program Level Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Central Valley to San Francisco was found to be inadequate again. The Revised Program EIR had failed to consider significant impacts, failed to consider information found in the project level studies and failed to re-circulate the document for public comments."

From TRANSDEF: Court Rules Again Against HSRA: "Richard Tolmach, President of the California Rail Foundation, declared that "Twice in a row, the Authority ignored the requirements of environmental law. The Judge found they still have not done a proper study."

Thanks to Patricia Matejcek

Full Story:
Published on Friday, November 11, 2011 in Palo Alto Online News
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