Since the first meeting on January 30, 2009, the
Advocated that the state Peer Review Committee be fully staffed, funded and empowered to do its job. State legislation has since been initiated to enact these recommendations.
- Analyzed and critiqued the Authority’s business plan and ridership studies. Collaborated with Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) and community participants to identify errors and omissions in the plan. Consistent with PCC’s comments, the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies conducted an independent ridership study and the state Legislative Analyst’s Office and state Auditor’s Office have strongly criticized the business plan for inadequate planning, weak oversight and lax contract management.
- Advocated that Caltrain protect its interests independent of high speed rail. Caltrain is now seeking funding for electrification improvements that would benefit the Peninsula corridor with or without high speed rail.
- Advocated successfully that a community consensus-building process called Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) be used in designing the high speed rail line. By going deeper than the usual requirements for projects that are dictated by environmental laws, CSS reflects full and fair consideration of all alternatives. The Peninsula Rail Program has made a commitment to CSS and has hired consultants to implement it.
- Proposed incorporating Web 2.0 tools in CSS to allow greater participation in the design of the rail line by stakeholders as well as technical experts from around the world. As a result, the Peninsula Rail Program has incorporated an e-government “CSS Toolkit” into CSS and has made it available to cities.
- Provided a series of educational and community input events including:
>>A High Speed Rail Teach-In on September 12, 2009, attended by more than 300 people. Hosted by the City of Palo Alto, the Teach-In helped educate people on many complex political, technical, legal and financial issues. Participants learned about the latest developments in high speed rail, questioned experts and discovered how they can get involved.
>>A High Speed Rail Design Workshop on October 3-4, 2009, that focused on the Palo Alto-Menlo Park-Atherton section of the line. More than 100 participants studied design alternatives in great detail with assistance from architects and rail experts.
- Created a PCC website at www.peninsularail.com that educates and informs the public about high speed rail developments. The PCC sends updates to mailing list subscribers.
- Monitors and participates in legislative advocacy through CARRD and through lobbying by participating cities.
- Made public a detailed analysis of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s business plan, courtesy of economist Elizabeth Alexis of CARRD.
- Requested and received an extension of the comment period for the draft scoping report. Persuaded the Peninsula Rail Program to extend the comment period for the Alternatives Analysis.
- Sent representatives to numerous community meetings to help educate residents about high speed rail.
- Have met with numerous state and local elected officials.
- Provided testimony at State Senate hearings.
- Provided a forum for presentations by experts on a variety of high speed rail topics, including freight, the business plan, Context Sensitive Solutions and the environmental analysis process.