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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 
August 17, 2011

For More Information, Contact:
Melissa Figueroa (916) 651-4011 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Joe Simitian today said he welcomes the just released statement from Caltrain that its “…findings support a concept proposed by U.S. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Senator Joe Simitian and State Assemblyman Rich Gordon that calls for the project to minimize community impacts and reduce the project’s cost…”

The Caltrain statement was headlined: “Lawmakers’ ‘Blended System’ Concept Operationally Feasible.” Simitian said he was pleased but not surprised by the results of the Caltrain study.  “My colleagues and I have been making the case that High Speed Rail ‘done right’ means a ‘blended system’ along the San Jose to San Francisco corridor – a system that integrates High Speed Rail with a 21st century Caltrain.”

Earlier this year Simitian, Eshoo and Gordon called on the High Speed Rail Authority to embrace a new vision for the South Bay and Peninsula segment of the system: One that eschewed the notion of a 60’ high viaduct, stayed within the existing Caltrain right of way and dramatically scaled back the proposed scope of the project and the attendant Environmental Impact Report.  That, they said, coupled with improvements to Caltrain like electrification and ‘positive train control,’ has the potential to dramatically reframe the debate along the San Jose to San Francisco corridor.

Simitian called the Caltrain announcement, “Heartening news. I hope the High Speed Rail Authority takes it to heart,” he said.  Simitian said he hopes for a response to the Eshoo/Simitian/Gordon proposal “sometime this fall.”  But even if the response is a favorable one, he cautions, “That’s just the beginning of a new more productive conversation. The High Speed Rail Authority still has a very tough row to hoe.”