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July 21
1952 - 7.5-magnitude Kern County earthquake devastates Tehachapi; damage spread from San Diego to Las Vegas [story]


After more than a half-dozen meetings and hundreds of comments, high-speed rail officials say they’re still figuring out how to include the public’s concerns in their multi-billion dollar plan.

“We had a good crowd at all of the locations,” said Rachel Kesting, information officer for the Southern California Regional Office of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. “(The meetings) went very well. “Several people gave comments during the meetings. For the next step, we analyze and review all of the comments.”

Los Angeles County officials urged residents that would be affected by the bullet train to voice their opinions and concerns to the HSR Authority.

“Now is a critical time for communities impacted by any of the routes proposed by the High-Speed Rail Authority to provide their input and request information and ask any question they have to ensure that their voice is heard as the authority continues to modify and examine the alternatives that have been provided so far,” said Michael Cano, transportation deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “Supervisor Antonovich is adamant that the Authority works very closely with all of the impacted communities to ensure that this process is inclusive of the concerns and the voices of all communities in the region.”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Rail officials held an open house in the Santa Clarita Valley earlier in December followed by a meeting in Acton. Officials are looking at various alignments, and  plan to draft an environmental report in the next year, Kesting said.

“We make our next decision based on the comments,” she said. “We haven’t been able to review all of them, yet. We’re going back out there again once we have reviewed the comments and looked at how to apply those comments.”

The High Speed Rail Authority plans to hold more meetings in the Santa Clarita Valley and Acton in the future to collect more public comments, Kesting said.

“We want to hear from the communities and get to know the communities,” Kesting said. “We’re looking at all of the issues that we heard — there were many environmental questions.”

The original proposed plan, the “SR-14 Corridor” alignment, ran along Highway 14 through Acton and the Santa Clarita Valley, Kesting said.

After the first Open House meeting’s public comments, HSR Authority officials proposed the “East Corridor” alignment plan, which would go through parts of Acton and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Santa Clarita City Council members support the “direct route” from Palmdale to Burbank, the “East Corridor,” said city of Santa Clarita Mayo Marsha McLean.

“We hope to be back out sometime next year,” said Adeline Yee, information officer for the HSR Authority. ”Right now, we’re still analyzing the hundreds of comments (from the Open House meetings).”

HSR Authority officials are planning to join local government, community, transportation, business and labor leaders on Jan. 6, 2015 “to commemorate the start of sustained construction on the nation’s first high-speed rail system at a ceremonial groundbreaking in Fresno,” according to a news release.

The event is open to invited guests and media, according to the news release.  The exact location has not been announced to the public.

Acton Town Council officials were not immediately available for comment.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Jason L. Tulock says:

    “We make our next decision based on the comments,”

    What an appalling lie. They take in comments so the public feels like it has input. They do not incorporate the comments. They answer them. They make their next decision based on the most favorable politics to keep the project funded.

    The Fresno location is being kept secret and private because they rightfully fear the protesters who would destroy their single sided message for the media.

  2. jimvs says:

    My fellow Frogs,

    This is such a bad idea. One look at the map (ignoring the self-serving explanations of why the route was chosen) makes things clear. The route is strictly political and financial. All the extra miles involved are there to sell the idea to local politicos and connected businesses. “Jobs!” they promise. Sure, for construction contractors who will only hire a few locals if any. Who’s going to do maintenance and repair? More importantly who’s going to pay for it? Not the locals. Not the ridership. And not the politicians or their friends.

    Why does a spur go from LA to Irvine and stop? Who in Irvine would take that long train ride to SF when they can get a plane at John Wayne or Long Beach? Why does the route swing east from LA to the SGV and then south through Murrieta and Escondido? How many people live in Escondido? Or do the horse players of Del Mar need train rides? Why didn’t they just send the route east to Cajon pass and then west to LA and straight south? Or, did they plan to cross the San Andreas fault in it’s most dangerous section (West Antelope Valley and north)on purpose? They’ll say its a shorter route, but then why didn’t they just follow I5 all the way? That’s one hell of a lot shorter than this mess.

    Because they need to sell it and they need to run it along the longest route across the cheapest land they can. Sometimes cheap means getting local politicians to fall in line – through typical means such as funding of pet projects, campaigns, and other support. Sometimes it means getting the local votes out to support the Bull-It train.

    People aren’t going to wake up to this until it’s mired in lawsuits and the gov’t agencies start raising usage fees/taxes on car owners/drivers to support it.
    You don’t think we’ll all end up supporting this boondoggle even though very few of us will ever use it? Gasoline taxes aren’t cutting it in Sacramento, so they’re going to charge us usage fees in addition. How long before that money goes to pay for the delays and cost-overruns on the HST?

    Pay attention to our transportation planners who are converting lanes of our current (under maintained) freeways to pay-as-you-go lanes. Why? Because they want you to use other means to travel, such as lousy bus systems and, uh trains.
    Pay attention to the “public benefit corporations” aka transportation authorities that are building tollways and then increasing prices and using taxpayer money to support them when ridership doesn’t reach those promised funding levels.

    None of these two options will reduce travel on freeways – until we can no longer afford to drive cars on them.

    It’s how you cook a frog, folks. Toss a frog into boiling water and he’ll jump out of your pot so fast the spray will burn you. But, put him in a pot of cool water just deep enough he can still breathe and he’ll be content. Slowly turn up the heat a few degrees at a time and he’ll never notice until it’s too late and just falls asleep.

    Forever.

  3. Claude says:

    I have Jim’s answers. The route goes where it goes because that’s where the customers are. It goes north via the highway 99 corridor because no one lives along the I-5. The big cities on the 99 are Stockton (300,000), Modesto (200,000), Bakersfield (347,000) and Fresno (509,000; the 34th largest city in America). Most of the ridership on the initial segment will be travel to and from the San Joaquin valley rather than end-to-end.
    Why go to the Inland Empire before turning south? Four million potential customers.
    How many people live in Escondido? About 144,000. Many of them might like to go to LA if it were quick and convenient.
    The current delays have been caused by frivolous lawsuits by opponents and the first section came in at 40% under budget. The second round of contracts have been finalized, and they came in over 20% below budget.
    And last; Who pays for it when it’s running? representative Kevin McCarthy had the GAO audit the numbers, and the official verdict is that all projections are conservative by currently accepted standards.
    Of course those standards were set when gas was cheaper, so the estimates so far have been consistently running well below actual ridership. It looks like the train will be paying California to operate, rather than the other way around.The 2007 report from the Federal Highway Administration said that the total dedicated revenue only came to 52% of the total cost of the federal highway system. Who pays for that?

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