Friday, January 08, 2010

San Jose insists HSRA to study something that it can't afford

City of San Jose is a master of hypocrisy. Years ago, they insisted that trains should route through its city. Since HSRA selected an alternative that routes through San Jose. The city now demands it to go underground.

Last month, despite the fact that HSRA board voted to drop the underground alternative citing high cost and engineering risks, HSRA now has agreed to further study that concept after San Jose delusionals (Mayor Reed and the awful Councilman Sam Liccardo) sent a letter to the authority.

Underground HSR proponents think that a visible alignment through San Jose would somehow divide the city, conveniently ignoring the fact that San Jose has two ugly elevated freeways (87 and 280) separating the downtown with neighborhoods to the south and the west. Although they continue to cite the Embarcadero freeway in San Francisco as a reason for their opposition against elevated structures, they are not demanding that these two San Jose freeways be torn down.

Is the City of San Jose prepared to tax itself to put HSR underground? If San Jose does not want a HSR visible in the city and cannot afford to build it underground, shouldn't it be supporting the Altamont alternative instead. Also, by removing the ugly elevated 87 freeway (which was recently widened with support from Carl Guardino), the city would do much more to tie the rest of Downtown San Jose with the proposed HSR station and HP Pavilion than putting anything underground.

Unfortunately, HSRA's action sets a bad example and does nothing other than wasting time. On one hand, you got Rod Diridon on the HSRA agreeing to waste time to study an option that San Jose cannot afford, yet emboldens the NIMBYs further north on the Peninsula to make the same demand. On the other hand, you got Quentin Kopp (also on the HSRA) fighting San Francisco by forcing HSRA to study another unbuildable alternative HSR terminal in San Francisco that nobody (other than Kopp's friends) wants, and which is unnecessarily threatening the residents at Rincon Hill as Kopp's alternative would require removal of a 300-unit condo high rise.

It is time for reform at HSRA.

1 comment:

arcady said...

I have long since realized that the primary objective of the HSRA is not, in fact, to build and operate a train service from LA to SF. If that were the case, they'd be focusing on filling the most important gaps in the existing rail network first, most notably LA-Bakersfield. Instead, the goal seems to be to bring outrageously expensive construction pork to the home areas of the various board members, which means SF-SJ (Kopp and Diridon) and Anaheim (Pringle), which provides the least benefit for the most money spent.