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Atherton urges feds to halt high-speed-rail funding

 

The proposed elevated high-speed railroad would be akin to a six- to eight-lane freeway bisecting Atherton -- "a blight" on the community, say members of the Atherton City Council.

That sentiment was expressed in a letter to federal officials, approved Aug. 18 by all five members of the Atherton council, and calling on the federal government to halt funding for the California high-speed rail project.

There were intimations of support for the high-speed rail at the Aug. 18 council meeting, but with provisos: that the trains not pass through Atherton on their way to San Francisco, and that if they do, that they do so below ground.

Having heard from three or four speakers whose opinions ran in that same vein, the council members unanimously approved the letter to the Federal Railway Administration and local members of Congress, opposing the California High-Speed Rail Authority's application for stimulus money.

The city pointed out that the application did not contain any below-grade options, including open trenches, on the Midpeninsula.

Other complaints against the rail project included ill-considered funding schemes, poor analysis of passenger demand, unexplained rejections of alternative routes, illegalities, and simply being out of step with contemporary urban history.

San Francisco, the council members noted, demolished the elevated and earthquake-damaged Embarcadero freeway to "create a more livable city."

And, the letter asks, if the train goes below ground as it approaches the San Francisco's Transbay terminal, why can't that be done on the Peninsula?

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