A Word About This Site

Important Note: This site is designed to be a one stop shopping place for information relevant to the HSR project, the potential impacts to our communities and how to participate in the process. Since this is an all volunteer effort, a lack of funding relegates us to using the freeby sites. With no perfect fit available, this site is being treated like a hybrid blog/website. Like a blog, it is not stagnant, but like a website, information is categorized. Therefore one should not treat it as a blog by always looking for only the latest entry, yet periodically refer back to older posts for updated information. To make it easier, HSR-PREP has a newsletter designed to be used in conjunction with this site. If you wish to be notified of new information appearing on the site, it is recommended that you sign up for the HSR-PREP Newsletter. Another way is to create an RSS link on your homepage.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved. If you have any issues at all with the high speed rail project as it exists, if you say and do nothing, it means you agree 100%. We are all busy in our lives. This cannot be used as an excuse later. If you have issues, you must participate in the process or forever hold your peace. Call, email or write your legislators. It takes 15 minutes using their websites. Participate in the public input opportunities with the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA). But don't wait.
Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

What Can I Do?

Public Input - to Legislators (The MOST IMPORTANT)

Contact your politicians and potential politicians regularly and frequently.  It only takes a few minutes to follow up with each of these once you click on the individual's website. Call or e-mail or write. If you call, be sure they take your full name and address. When using some politician's sites to e-mail, you will be asked to chose whether you 'support' or 'oppose' even if you have to leave the issue box blank because HSR is not listed. Be careful. If you support in concept, but are not 100% comfortable with the way things are, you should always check the 'oppose' box. From experience we know not all e-mails are read, but all are categorized and tracked. The same can be said for writing a letter. Do not start off a letter with "I support..." unless you are 100%, or else your letter will end up in the support pile. Always keep back up copies and send registered/read receipt whenever possible.

Oct 2010 Update:  Per Senator Simitian, the most important legislators to contact are those on the budget committees for the two houses.  He says a lot of them still don't understand the impacts of HSR on the communities.  CARRD has the contact information for these people.

You should contact the your Senators, Congress members, Assembly members, the Governor and your city Council. If you do not know, find out who represents you in the Assembly, the Senate, and Congress using these links. At the local level visit your city's website and look under Council Members. Think outside the box. Contact potential political candidates that will support your point of view and let them know that you support them. Conversely, let those that do not stand up for your concerns know that you will not support them in the next election. Lastly, since the development of HSR within the United States is being driven from the top down, you should also send your message to the White House as they do not know the details of your situation, yet should be listening.

If you know your representatives or district already, you may find the contact information directly on this site.

Public Input - to High Speed Rail Authority
There are three (3) separate, remaining important ways in which you should be submitting public comment on the high speed rail project. Always make copies and retain proof of delivery.

1. The Peninsula Alternatives Analysis (AA).  The AA was released by the HSRA April 8. While we're really no closer to knowing where we stand than we were before the AA was released, the good news is the alternatives remain essentially all on the table. View the AA here. Related documents such as the Executive Summary and the Board Presentation are listed at http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/library.asp?p=8243. Although the HSRA has not given a deadline for accepting comments to the AA, they indicated that they were likely to make initial decisions after a 30 days based on whatever comments they had at received at that time. After discussion with the HSRA, Burlingame requests comments be submitted by June 21, 2010. This should be similar for other cities. Please read the AA report carefully; if you have comments, try to submit them at your earliest convenience.

Note: It is recommended that your comments be prefaced by a statement to the effect of "Due to the fact that a final route has not legally been determined as the de-certified and re-released Program level EIR was not re-certified at the time of the Alternatives Analysis release, it is inappropriate that alternatives comments should be limited to the Caltrain corridor."

AA comments can be sent to the HSRA via one of the following methods:

Mail (certified is recommended): Robert Doty
California High-Speed Rail Authority
925 L Street, Suite 1425
Sacramento, CA 95814
Attn: San Francisco to San Jose Section Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report Comments

Email (read receipt is recommended):
The subject line “San Francisco to San Jose Section Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report Comments”
Send to comments@hsr.ca.gov,

Facsimile transmission:
(916) 322-0827

2. Final Project Level EIR Reminder:
The Program Level EIR comment period ended on April 26. The Draft Final Project Level EIR is expected to be released late 2010/early 2011 and will be based on the Program EIR, AA and CSS input. A public comment period will follow after release of the Draft.  It must be completed by December 2011 in order for HSR to qualify for the stimulus money. The Final Project EIR will contain the final design upon which comments regarding whether or not impacts were properly mitigated may be submitted.

3. Context Senistive Solutions (CSS) Toolkit: The Peninsula Rail Program (PRP), a joint collaborative between Caltrain and HSRA, has developed the CSS toolkit for stakeholders of the San Francisco to San Jose section of the California High-Speed Train Project. The purpose of the toolkit is to provide a methodical, online approach for both providing technical and project information to stakeholders and for soliciting a wide range of inputs that will be used to further shape the project alternatives. While a bit tough to view on a computer monitor (you might want to print out the pages that pertain to you), this toolkit utilizes "click-and drag" features to help with user friendliness. Stay alert for workshops in your city for training. Their technical working groups (TWGs) and policy working groups (PWGs) are being trained by the HSRA shortly.

To Recap:
The Program level EIR previously completed in 2008 prior to approval of the bond measure decided the route choice, but was ordered de-certified and re-released after a lawsuit for reasons not related to the route.  As a result the public was given a second chance to enter comments into the record (comment period closed April 26, 2010).  With new evidence uncovered, the decision to chose the Caltrain corridor and the Pacheco Pass versus the Altamont Pass are now subject to legal review, as they may have been selected without proper study and review.  Presumably under the assumption that the route decisions made (based on the original EIR) would not be challenged, the judge allowed the HSRA to continue work on the next phases.  But now, that assumption may have been a bad one (see Note under item 1. above). 

Given a specific route, the AA addresses vertical design alternatives such as tunnel, trench, at-grade, berm and aerials, including hybrid designs such as stacking or cut-and-cover trenches, as well as configurations such as track order (Slow-Fast-Fast-Slow or SSFF or FSSF) and system compatibility such as shared systems between Caltrain and HSR.

The Final Project Level EIR addresses the final design for that route and environmental impacts such as noise, vibrations, visual, traffic, vegetation, land use compatibility, etc.

BOTH are extremely important! While it is not exactly known just how CSS input will be incorporated into the final EIR, suffice it to say that it can only help, and is therefore also highly recommended. CSS input type can be broad, but as with the AA and the EIR comments, CSS input should be as detailed as possible.