Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has invited himself to speak via telephone to a meeting on high-speed rail set up by Palo Alto tonight at the League of California Cities Conference in San Diego.
City Manager James Keene received a call from the governor's office about noon today with a request that Schwarzenegger be allowed to speak at the beginning of the meeting. Schwarzenegger, fresh back from visiting a high-speed-rail system in China, is an enthusiastic support of high-speed rail.
But after some "shuttle diplomacy" with a senior policy adviser it was agreed that the governor would speak at the end of the meeting -- after city officials had a chance to discuss their concerns about the planned high-speed-rail project that initially would like San Francisco and Los Angeles, an 800-mile system estimated to cost $43 billion.
Mayor Pat Burt, who will co-chair the session with an official from a Southern California city, said he does not know how many officials might show up for the 90-minute meeting scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m.
Burt said there is a growing number of cities expressing serious concerns about the project, ranging from its financing and business plan and reliability of its ridership projections and other studies to environmental and community impacts.
Meanwhile, Palo Alto officials are scheduled to discuss suing the California High Speed Rail Authority in a closed session at the City Council meeting Monday night, along with continuing a public discussion about the proposed system and its potential impacts on Midpeninsula communities.