SAMCEDA-led ASTJ Gaining Momentum As Town Hall Appearance and Federal Award Change Tone of Debate

Senator Simitian and Lowenthal Host High-Speed Rail Town Hall Meeting in Palo Alto, CA. More than 500 people gathered in the Palo Alto City Council Chambers for a discussion of the proposed California High-Speed Rail line along the Peninsula. The turnout represented a mix of supporters, opponents and those looking to gather more information about the project. Many group representatives and individuals spoke to the significant economic and job creation benefits associated with the project. SAMCEDA Acting President & CEO Rosanne Foust spoke on behalf of the Alliance for Sustainable Transit and Jobs (ASTJ) – a SAMCEDA-led coalition in support of the project – recognizing community concerns and at the same time urging both supporters and opponents to allow the project to move forward under the existing regulatory process. The ASTJ, whose intention is to provide factual information relative the project process, has gained both recognition and respect for its role as a balanced advocate in support of High-Speed Rail and Caltrain electrification. Subsequent to the January 21, 2010, Town Hall Meeting, the California Department of Transportation and California High-Speed Rail Authority have been awarded $2.34 billion in federal grant funding available for high-speed and intercity rail under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Transbay Joint Powers Authority has been awarded a $400 million grant in addition to a $177 million loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin construction on Phase I of the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco, CA. In March 2010, California High-Speed Rail Authority will release the San Francisco to San Jose segment’s Alternatives Analysis – a defined range of reasonable, practicable and feasible project study alternatives and design options for the segment – which will comprise a short-list of practicable and feasible alignments to be studied in the project EIR/EIS.