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Palo Alto Council Wants High-Speed Rail Project ‘Terminated’

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California High-Speed Rail

Rendering of a high-speed rail train. (CA High-Speed Rail Authority)

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PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — The Palo Alto City Council on Monday night approved the wording of the city’s official position on high-speed rail, calling for the project to be “terminated” in light of spiraling cost estimates and other factors.

The position includes a number of “guiding principles” if the project continues to move forward, including that the city opposes an elevated rail line through Palo Alto.

The unanimous 8-0 vote was the culmination of many discussions over the past three years since California voters approved the project, Councilman Greg Schmid said.

Schmid, who was on the council that unanimously backed high-speed rail in 2008, said the High-Speed Rail Authority’s current plan has “lost contact with what the original promise was.”

“I think there seemed to be a general consensus that ridership numbers and the financing availability just did not meet the terms of Proposition 1A,” Schmid said, referring to the voter-approved initiative that gave high-speed rail the go-ahead.

“Part of the frustration has been that the promises contained in that bond have not been met,” he said.

In November, the High-Speed Rail Authority released an updated business plan estimating that the new cost of a rail line between San Francisco and Southern California would be $98.5 billion—double the previous estimate.

The updated draft also indicated a completion date of 2033, which is 13 years later than initially estimated.

Councilman Larry Klein was absent from Monday night’s meeting.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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