High-Speed Rail Route from San Francisco to San Jose Wins Approval. What happens Next?

Over concerns of a pair of Bay Area cities, the California High-Speed Rail Authority board finalized its choice of a route alternative for about 49 miles of tracks between San Francisco and San Jose. Thursday’s actions included certification of thousands of pages of environmental analysis for the stretch, in which high-speed trains will eventually share an upgraded and electrified rail corridor with the Caltrain passenger train service on the San Francisco Peninsula. The 8-0 vote (with one board member absent) took place in a meeting held by teleconference among rail authority board members scattered across the state.

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It represents the latest step in providing the environmental clearance for a statewide system that is ultimately planned to link San Francisco with Los Angeles and Anaheim by way of the San Joaquin Valley, with electric-powered trains carrying passengers at speeds up to 220 mph. “Today is really a momentous event, with a tremendous amount of work behind it to get where we are today with an environmentally cleared project from the Bay Area through the Central Valley,” Tom Richards, a Fresno developer and the authority board chairperson, said after the vote. “If nothing else, what it does is prepare and move this entire project forward toward construction.”

Brian Kelly, the rail agency’s chief executive officer, said certification of the San Francisco-San Jose corridor means the agency has now completed and certified its environmental analyses for all but two sections of the 500-mile San Francisco-Los Angeles/Anaheim system. The only gaps in clearance are a 38-mile segment between the Mojave Desert city of Palmdale and the San Fernando Valley community of Burbank, and a stretch from downtown Los Angeles to Anaheim. “A lot of people have lost sight that this project is about San Francisco to Los Angeles,” Kelly told The Fresno Bee after the vote. “With today’s environmental document being certified by our board, we have now cleared San Francisco into Los Angeles County.”

“It really reflects what we’re trying to do: get service started in the (San Joaquin Valley) where construction is under way, and we’re trying to advance that full Phase 1 system from San Francisco to Los Angeles,” Kelly added. “By getting this done, we can now start designing those other segments as we bring operations forward in the Valley. We can advance the design, start talking about acquiring right of way, and figuring out the rest of the San Francisco-LA project.” CONCERNS RAISED DURING MEETING On Wednesday, during public comments on the environmental analysis, representatives of the city of Millbrae, which is south of San Francisco, expressed concern with some aspects of the plans. They asserted that the documents did not fully consider the effects that the bullet-train project and potential station locations could have on the city’s development plans near its transportation station that is shared by both the Caltrain commuter trains and BART trains that connect communities throughout the Bay Area.

In response, staff for the high-speed rail authority noted that the environmental documents don’t represent a final design for stations. They pledged to collaborate with local city officials in Millbrae on future plans for expanding and sharing the BART/Caltrain station. They also said they will work with officials in nearby Brisbane on plans for a maintenance facility near a former landfill along the east side of the Caltrain corridor. Improvements to the Caltrain line to accommodate high-speed trains will include some grade-separated crossings, while other roads will have enhanced crossing gates to bar drivers from going around barriers when trains are approaching.

Gary Kennerley, director of Northern California projects for the rail agency, said those features, along with installing overhead electric systems to replace Caltrain’s current fleet of diesel-powered trains, are expected to allow the high-speed trains to operate at speeds up to 110 mph, an increase of about 30 mph compared to current speeds on the peninsula corridor. Earlier this year, the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s board approved a route from San Jose to Merced; a segment from Burbank to downtown Los Angeles was approved last year. In the San Joaquin Valley, the rail agency currently has three construction sections under way between the northern end of Madera and the community of Shafter in Kern County – a 119-mile stretch that will include a station in downtown Fresno but stops short of future station sites in downtown Merced and north-central Bakersfield.

Click here to read the full article at the Fresno Bee


  1. Water and electricity seems to be the main issue as policies (green agenda) regarding these two necessities effects all citizens and survival…not high speed rail money spent. All I hear are commercials stating “stop using water and electricity”.

  2. Philip Gallanders says

    It is sad that the California mono-party Democrats are spending BILLIONS of dollars trying to creat a high-speed train, connecting L.A. & San Francisco. Two places that are so awful now, that they are experiencing net outflow of legal, tax paying citizens.

    Why would anyone want to rush to a city that is festering with crime, violence, drug abuse, open sidewalk toilets and homeless camps for tens of thousands?

    It is all a scam designed to accomplish two things.
    1) Get people out of their cars and dependent on awful government provided “services”.
    2) Provide hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for the few connected to the money faucet in Sacramento.

  3. So hilarious when the bureaucrats start to gloat about their ‘accomplishments.’

    For those who have ever taken CalTrain between SF and San Jose, the right of way it uses blocks traffic through many Peninsula communities when the existing trains pass scores of times a day. More trains equal more delays for the local traffic since underpasses and overpasses are very few and far between. If I lived next to that right of way (many do) and a high speed train passed through multiple times a day, the noise/nuisance factor will only increase significantly. How many hundreds of dollars per person will be charged for this trip when the actual train is running in 20 years or?

    • Richard Cathcart says

      Not only that but endless shaking of home/business structures will INDUCE rapid wear and tear: wall cracks, leaky plumbing etc.

  4. Richard Cathcart says

    What IS the BIG PICTURE? Perhaps the true intention of HIgh-Speed Railway’s planners is to use State-wide collected tax monies to build and exclusively Central Valley and Bay Area transit system. Planners will use the “environmental risks” and “costs of tunneling” excuse to NEVER CONNECT hated Los Angeles Basin and all point south to the Bay Area. Southern California taxpayers/voters have been duped by Sacramento and the cretins of the San Francisco Bay Area. Expect soon another drive to split the State originating therein: after all, they have the freshwater supplies and are soon to inherit the huge and costly High-Speed Railway, keeping both all to themselves sometime in the future. Get real people.

  5. Rick is absolutely correct. Additionally the final phase to Los Angeles will be an environmental disaster that will impact water tables and more. All one hast to do is look at the Metro link from San Fernado to LA and the impact it had on the Valley to see what is coming.

    Understand also because of environmental issues of HSR traveling through towns and cities it will not be able to travel at speed over a minimum of 40-45% of the route.

    A terrible plan, that Gov. Newsom when elected stated was broken and he would kill. I guess his French Laundry buddies bought him. You elected a one party rule. You are responsible for this type of low IQ thinking.

    The State will wind up subsidizing the ticket prices because to admit most will not pay the full fare means that it will be an economic nightmare.

    Remember you voted for them, and you are responsible for $200 millin per mile stupidity.

    Even the swells of Frisco and Santa Clarita are bailing out. That should tell you what the reality is.

    Still voting Democrat? Why?

  6. Do you hear that? That’s the sucking sound of more tax dollars from my earnings. Oh wait, I’m no longer an income tax payer since getting fired for refusing the vaccine. Guess I will need to move to a free state before my remaining money is drained for another boondoggle state project.

  7. How’s that NewScum recall going? well, I’m not in this crappy state much longer. They can have whatever the hell they feel like, but it won’t be with MY money. ‘California, here I GOOOOO’!!!!!!! By the way, Democrats only fix problems they cause with MORE problems………and they like throwing enormous amounts of money we don’t have, at problems that don’t exist, for solutions that don’t work!!!

  8. Congratulations are due to the Newsom Nitwits. The “HSR” boondoggle has eclipsed the “Boston Big Dig” in massive monetary miscalculations. Tip O’Neal would be proud.
    Similarities abound. The Big Dig is under constant repair and HSR will be under constant subsidies. It is estimated that the HSR final number would have been sufficient to add a lane to every freeway in California.
    Every politician supporting HSR should be tarred and feathered and fired. It NEVER made economic sense. It NEVER has purchased all the right of way. It NEVER would have competed with air travel.
    Too bad Californians are too Democrat infused to vote them OUT!

  9. It’s funny how the government of California can spend billions on a transit system that Jerry brown introduced, it is still cheaper to fly to LA then take the train. There is all ready a train system that goes to LA it’s called Amtrak. With the chance of brown outs on the electric grid for CA. I think that the money could be used to a more concerning problem like the homeless get them off the streets. So here is a idea use this money to re-open the mental hospital that Ronald Reagan closed years ago this would be money well spent.

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