Santa Clara City Desk
By Carolyn Schuk

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High Speed Rail Not Derailed

You may have read an editorial a while back in the San Jose Mercury asking, How long will it be "before the state buries the corpse that is California's high-speed rail proposal?" And you may have taken away the impression that the high-speed rail project is derailing.

Not so, says Santa Clara County's own transportation guru, Rod Diridon Sr., Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (transweb.sjsu.edu). "The report didn't say to stop the [high speed rail] project," Diridon explains. "The report said to correct some flaws in the business plan."

The January 3, 2012 report on the project by the state's Legislative Peer Review Group (www.cahsrprg.com) concluded that "pending review of the final Business Plan and absent a clearer picture of where future funding is going to come from, the Peer Review Group cannot at this time recommend that the Legislature approve the appropriation of bond proceeds for this project."

California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Thomas J. Umberg responded. "We take seriously legitimate critiques of our program and organization," Umberg said in a press release.†"For example, we have acknowledged repeatedly that the Authority must staff up in anticipation of start of construction next year."†

"However," he added, "what is most unfortunate about this Reportís faulty assumptions and lack of analysis is that it erroneously creates a cloud over the program that threatens not only federal support but also the confidence of the private sector necessary for them to invest their dollars."†

To find out what's going on with the proposed California high speed rail project, visit www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov or call (916) 324-1541. As well as utilizing the website to access an extensive library of information about the project, you can sign up for email updates and join the conversation.

Dream, Dream, Dreaming Department

San Francisco's seemingly indestructible Hunters Point stadium idea invites many metaphors; among them "bad penny," "living dead," and "flogging a dead horse."

In a recent flight of fancy reported by the Chronicle's City Insider blog, San Francisco Planning Commissioner Mike Antonini continues to promote the idea of a Hunters Point 49ers football stadium, despite that fact that the team has started selling tickets for the planned Santa Clara stadium.

"Heís convening a meeting of business and labor representatives to hear from representatives of HKS, Inc.," reported the City Insider blog (blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider) on January 9, 2012.

"Antonini has put the firm in touch with Mayor Ed Leeís administration in hopes to fleshing [sic] out a plan for a new stadium in Hunters Point that convinces 49ers owner Jed York to reconsider. HKS, Inc. envisions an all-weather stadium with a retractable roof that seats 70,000 fans and shows off gorgeous views of the city skyline."

Right. And there's a little bridge on the east coast I'd like to sell you.

Carolyn Schuk can be reached at cschuk@earthlink.net.