Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt and Councilman Larry Klein are heading to San Diego today to compare notes and share high-speed-rail frustrations with elected leaders from around the state.
While no specific proposal is on the agenda, unofficially the meeting could lay the foundation for a stronger collaboration, or even a possible coalition, of cities concerned about impacts of the rail project.
Burt and Klein are hosting a meeting on high-speed rail at the annual League of California Cities Conference tonight (Thursday, Sept. 16).
Both sit on the city's High-Speed Rail Committee, which recently adopted a "no confidence" stance toward the voter-approved rail project and which on Wednesday agreed to ask state officials to withhold funds from the 800-mile project, currently estimated at $43 billion.
Both council members supported the project in 2008, when the council adopted a resolution to support the November 2008 initiative that authorized $9.95 billion in state funds for the project.
Both have since become disenchanted with the project. Klein called the city negotiations with the California High-School Rail Authority a "bare-knuckles political fight."
The meeting, sponsored by Palo Alto, is billed as an information-sharing affair. City leaders won't be taking any official resolutions or signing any agreements at the conference, Klein said.
"The only thing we're asking people to sign is a sign-up sheet," Klein said.
Burt, the city's high-speed-rail lobbyist Ravi Mehta, and Alhambra Mayor Stephen Sham are scheduled to speak at the meeting about the rail project.
But there's an unwritten, unofficial part of the agenda:
"What we want to explore is what we can develop in common," Burt said Wednesday night at the city's High Speed Rail Committee meeting.