Bullet train would use Pacheo Pass
July 9, 2008
• Environmental impact report OK’d
• Clears way for voters to determine fate of train
The environmental impact report for the route the long-proposed bullet train will take between the Central Valley and the Bay Areas was approved Wednesday by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
A route through the Pacheco Pass west of Los Banos has been picked. Once over the Coast Range mountains, the trains would trazel north to San Jose, then up the Peninsula along Caltrain’s right-of-way to San Francisco
The Pacheco Pass alignment, rather than one through the Altamont Pass further to the north, was the fastest and “most environmentally responsible option” for the high-speed train system, minimizing impacts on wetlands as well as the San Francisco Bay and eliminating the need for another San Francisco Bay crossing, bridge or tunnel,” the authority says.
At the same time, the authority said it’s supportive of regional rail commuter service in partnership with local and regional agencies and transit providers such as ACE and BART trains, via the Altamont Pass between Sacramento/Northern San Joaquin Valley and Oakland/San Jose.
“The … approval of environmental findings, and the least environmentally hurtful Pacheco Pass alignment to San Jose and San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal, represent a landmark act,” says Quentin Kopp, chairman of the authority. “All segments of the project now possess a valid certified environmental analysis.”
Voters will get their first chance to weigh in on the bullet train with Proposition 1, a $9.95 billion bond measure on the November ballot.
Of that amount, if approved, $9 billion would be thrown at the train project. A total cost for the project has been estimated at $40 billion. The rest of the measure would be spent on improvements to other rail services that connect to the high-speed train service. Proposition 1 requires a simple majority vote for approval.
As envisioned by its supporters, the train would zip along at up to 220 miles per hour. The expected trip time from San Francisco to Los Angeles is under 2 hours and 40 minutes.