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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
January 12, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Keith Weissglass (650) 688-6384
Art Bauer (916) 651-4121 (Sen. Lowenthal’s office)


PALO ALTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that he will hold a public informational hearing on California’s high-speed rail project on Thursday, January 21st at Palo Alto City Hall. Community members can also watch the event live on local cable television or an internet webcast.

“I’m looking forward to hearing what folks have to say,” said Simitian, who represents residents in several communities along the train’s proposed route. “I see this meeting as an opportunity to clear the air on an issue that evokes strong feelings on all sides. As I’ve often said, I support high-speed rail – as long as it’s done right. That means making sure the project has the capacity to succeed, and it means responding to local concerns in a meaningful way.”

Simitian, who chairs the Senate budget subcommittee that oversees transportation spending, will co-host the informational hearing with State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach). Lowenthal chairs the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

The hearing will feature presentations by the California High-Speed Rail Authority – the state agency planning the project – and by representatives from local city governments. Members of the public will then have the opportunity to share their views during a public comment period.

One focus of the hearing will be the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s new business plan, submitted to the State Legislature last month. At Simitian’s urging, language in the State’s 2009-2010 budget required that the agency provide an updated document before accessing additional state funds.

“We appreciate the Senator’s efforts to organize this informational hearing,” said Richard Cline, Mayor of Menlo Park and Chair of the Peninsula Cities Consortium.  “It’s a great opportunity for us to discuss our concerns and to hear the latest information about the project.”

“Over the past year, interest in the high-speed train project has increased exponentially,” said Authority Executive Director Mehdi Morshed. “We appreciate every opportunity to update Californians throughout the state and to hear all viewpoints – we’re confident that the input from interested communities, including the Peninsula, will help create a better high-speed train system.”

Those not able to attend the event can watch on local cable television or via a live internet webcast. “I want to make it as easy as possible for folks to participate, whether that means showing up or watching from the comfort of their living rooms,” Simitian said.

WHAT: State Senate Informational Hearing on High-Speed Rail
WHEN: Thursday, January 21st, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Palo Alto City Hall Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Live webcast:
Live cable broadcast: Channel 26 (Government Access) in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Stanford

This meeting is open to the public. For more information, visit or call Simitian’s Palo Alto district office at (650) 688-6384 or (408) 277-9460.


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