TRANSDEF has long been a supporter of
High Speed Rail (HSR) over the Altamont Pass into the San
Francisco Bay Area. This route makes tremendous sense from
the standpoint of cost-effective regional transportation
planning. The two interregional connections most in need of
additional transit capacity are the Bay Area-to-Central
Valley and the Bay Area-to-Sacramento routes. The Altamont
alignment (orange on the map below) would provide the
infrastructure for both of these key connections,
essentially for free.
The only substantial beneficiaries of Pacheco we can see are speculators, who would open up vast areas of undisturbed wetlands habitat for sprawl development (the dark areas in the map below). For these people, public investment in High Speed Rail in the Pacheco Corridor would shower windfall profits on their holdings.
TRANSDEF recommends the website of the California Rail Foundation for thorough analyses of how an HSR system should be designed.
Lawsuit Against the California High-Speed Rail Authority
TRANSDEF is part of a coalition of environmental groups and transit advocacy organizations that together submitted extensive comments on the Draft Program EIR/S. Our coalition also furnished a very large appendix, bringing our comment package to a total of 250 pages. In addition to contributing to the joint comments, TRANSDEF submitted its own comments on the DEIR/S.
In July 2008, The High-Speed Rail Authority certified its Final Program Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement. A smaller coalition, including TRANSDEF, furnished comments on the FPEIR/S.
On August 8, 2008, a coalition of environmental and transit advocacy groups, along with the Town of Atherton and the City of Menlo Park, filed suit to challenge the Final EIR. See the Press Release and the Lawsuit.
On August 25, 2009, the Court released its decision, finding the EIR legally inadequate. See our Press Release and all the court documents in the case.
TRANSDEF Opposed Proposition 1A, the California High-Speed Rail Bond Measure
The TRANSDEF Board adopted a position of opposition to the Proposition: TRANSDEF strongly supports High-Speed Rail, but feels the current California High-Speed Rail Authority Board and its staff cannot be trusted. Therefore, TRANSDEF opposes Proposition 1A.
The President of TRANSDEF, David Schonbrunn, debated Quentin Kopp, the Chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, on October 22, 2008 on KALW-FM. A podcast is available here. (A broadband connection is needed to download this 27 Mb mp3 file.)
High-Speed Rail expert Joseph Vranich testified before the California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on the flaws of the High-Speed Rail Authority's proposal, and concluded "It's time to dissolve the California High-Speed Rail Authority."
Here's a podcast of a KGO-AM show about Prop. 1A. David Schonbrunn appears about 15 minutes in. (Note that there are several minutes of banter before the 1A segment starts).