High-speed rail officials to hold local meetings

January 11, 2009 4:29:56 PM PST
Plans for California's 800-mile high-speed rail system are about to get specific, according to an announcement made Thursday following a meeting of the California High Speed Rail Authority.

A Northern California series of "scoping sessions" will be held in the Bay Area later this month, giving residents and elected officials their first chance to weigh in on particulars of the rail system since giving it the green light by approving Proposition 1A in November.

"This is something we've all been looking forward to," Authority chairman Quentin Kopp said in a prepared statement. "It signifies that we now are moving forward with actual development of the system. This enables people to learn more about and contribute to specific routing, connections and other details necessary to build the system and begin operation."

The Authority has already approved environmental impact reviews of broader aspects of the planned network of trains that will travel at 220 mph, including the adoption of a resolution in July 2008 which designated Pacheco Pass, state Highway 152 terminating in Gilroy, as the main east-west artery connecting the Bay Area to the Central Valley.

The scoping meetings are designed to localize plans in greater detail with public input, and have already taken place in some Southern California locations, according to Rail Authority officials.

Specific meeting time and locations will be announced on the Rail Authority's Web site, www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov, where prospective routes and station designs have already been posted.