Friday, April 09, 2010

Transbay Terminal pushed for San Francisco HSR endpoint

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San Francisco's rebuilt Transbay Terminal, already expected to maximize passenger intermodalism by both land and water routes, has moved into contention as the endpoint for the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s proposed $44 billion system. Authority directors Thursday rejected by a 6-1 vote an alternate underground site at Beale Street.

Either site would have extended HSR beyond the currentCaltrain terminus at Fourth and King streets. That site will continue to beserved by Caltrain and possibly by HSR as well.

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The decision was just one of many made by the authority; it also approved plans for the San Francisco to San Jose segment to follow existing Caltrain service through the  Peninsula, rejecting alternative routes along Highway 101 orInterstate 280. The authority’s Board of Directors did agree to continue study of potential stations in Millbrae, where the rail system would link to San Francisco International Airport, and in downtown San Jose. It also agreed todelay any decision on whether to run the tracks underground through the Peninsula, a costly solution favored by many local cities.

The support for Transbay Terminal as one of two northern endpoints for HSR was welcomed by San Francisco city officials and other city interests. “The terminal is ready to be under construction by August,” said Jim Lazarus, vice president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “It's a permanent solution for high speed rail in San Francisco.”