Statement on High Speed Rail and Lawsuit against HSRA

August 11, 2008

BayRail Alliance has been a strong supporter for High Speed Rail. Two years ago when the Governor tried to cut funding to the High Speed Rail Authority, we fought hard in Sacramento to preserve funds. Six years ago, we held a forum in San Jose with various transportation, environmental and business leaders to bring awareness of the need for high speed rail and the benefits it will bring. Nine years ago, we successfully advocated for a new rail terminal in downtown San Francisco, which will be a part of the proposed HSR system.

As much as BayRail is interested in bring High Speed Rail to fruition, BayRail is also interested in making sure that the High Speed Rail project has the least impact on the environment and has the greatest ridership potential. We believe the Altamont Pass is the best choice.

We joined the lawsuit because we believe the environmental document, which the HSRA based its decision on, is severely flawed. We made extensive comments in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Report highlighting its flaws. We would not have joined this suit if HSRA has done its job properly without political bias.

We would have preferred to file this lawsuit after the election. However, the law requires us to file within 30 days after the Final Environmental Impact Report is approved. Unfortunately, the HSRA refused to extend the filing deadline to allow us file the lawsuit after the election.

Despite the timing of the lawsuit, we consider the litigation, the project itself (other than the Bay Area-Central Valley alignment) and the bond measure to be separate issues. We continue to support the High Speed Rail project and Proposition 1.