The big transportation news for today was the announcement of who receives $8 billion in Federal stimulus funding for intercity high speed rail. Steve in Chicago has a good summary of which projects will receive grants to kickstart high speed rail development in the United States.
California received the biggest chunk by far, with $2.35B coming to the state of which $2.25B will go toward the High Speed Rail project to link San Francisco and Sacramento to Los Angeles. Other California projects receiving funding include improvements to San Jose Diridon Station, track work on the Capital Corridor and Pacific Surfliner Corridor, and equipment upgrades for the San Joaquin trains (including more bicycle storage space). LAist has more background and details on the California rail projects receiving stimulus funding.
During President Obama's speech last night, the Palo Alto city council voted to budget $130,000 to fight high speed rail on the Peninsula, responding to NIMBY fears that frequent high speed rail service will bisect their communities and add noise (as if highways 101, 280, 92, 82, 84 and the various expressways already don't do that on the Peninsula and Santa Clara Valley).
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The Palo Alto City Council vote is really depressing. The whole city should get a copy of "You're Not an Environmentalist If You're Also a NIMBY" from the East Bay Express
Although I am a big proponent of rail, I am not sure that Palo Alto did the wrong thing. Although the population of the peninsula is quite large, it is spread along the length of the peninsula which makes high speed rail service impractical. What would make sense to me is a high speed route to San Jose, which is coordinated with Caltrain so that you can easily ride from LA to San Jose, then transfer to Caltrain or BART for access to the rest of the peninsula. By doing it this way, it would be easier to cover the east bay as well.
I'm all for HSR where its appropriate, but I would rather have seen less financial support for HSR installation, and then keep the expected funding increase for NASA. I see no good coming out of flatlining NASA's budget.
The "Structural" option seems to be the least impacting from a visual and separation/bisecting standpoint. Lord knowns Palo Alto/Peninsula/CalTrain needs to figure out another option where its harder for people and trains to converge outside of it's intended use. :-(