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Rail authority to discuss PA station Thursday

City to host presentation on rail stations by engineering firm HNTB

Palo Alto residents will have a chance to weigh in Thursday on whether the city should pursue a high-speed-rail station.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is charged with building the voter-approved project between San Francisco to Los Angeles, has identified Palo Alto as one of three Midpeninsula cities that could potentially house a high-speed rail station. Redwood City and Mountain View are also being considered.

HNTB, the rail authority's consultant for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment, is scheduled to give a presentation about the potential station in Palo Alto Thursday night.

So far, Palo Alto officials have expressed skepticism about the prospect of having a local station. The authority has offered to build stations but is requiring the host cities to supply parking. If Palo Alto pursues a station, it would need to build 3,000 parking spots for rail riders, according to the rail authority's design guidelines.

While the full council has yet to have a thorough discussion of a local station, members of the council's High-Speed Rail Committee have indicated that they are unlikely to support the proposal. Committee Chair Larry Klein said at the Aug. 24 committee meeting that the city should clearly spell out its opposition to a local rail station.

Other committee members shared Klein's concerns about the potential parking and traffic impacts of a high-speed rail station, but declined to formally decline a station without first hearing from the commutniy.

The Thursday meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.

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