High-Speed Rail CEO to meet with top officials in Gilroy

Key points from the from the Gilroy City Council

The CEO for the California High-Speed Rail Authority will meet
Dec. 15 with members of a Gilroy and Morgan Hill joint task force
formed a year and a half ago to deal with HSRA policies.
The CEO for the California High-Speed Rail Authority will meet Dec. 15 with members of a Gilroy and Morgan Hill joint task force formed a year and a half ago to deal with HSRA policies.

Roelof Van Ark will travel to Gilroy City Hall to discuss policy with the task force. The subcommittee comprises Gilroy Mayor Al Pinheiro, Councilman Perry Woodward and City Administrator Tom Haglund, as well as Morgan Hill representatives – Councilman Greg Sellers, Mayor Steve Tate and City Manager Ed Tewes.

“As far as I’m concerned, everything is on the table: from the frustration, to discussion on if it comes, where and how we’re going to pay for it,” said Woodward of the 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. meeting.

Van Ark’s actions follow a “vote of no confidence” less than a month ago by the Gilroy City Council.

The 23-point resolution states Gilroy “does not have confidence in the planning, design and execution of the California High Speed Rail project.”

Prior to the vote, Van Ark sent a letter to Pinheiro and his Morgan Hill counterpart Tate asking the Council to defer the “vote of no confidence” until the HSRA had a chance to work more closely with the city.

HSRA board member Rod Diridon and spokeswoman Rachel Wall have said a “vote of no confidence” has prompted the HSRA to reach out more to the city.

Woodward learned of the meeting through an e-mail, and does not yet know the format. He said he expects it to be a high-level discussion about a wide range of issues.

“In these types of meetings, either side has a presentation opportunity to discuss,” said Woodward. “It will be more like a sit down one-on-one meeting with him – no staff presentations.”

Expected to begin full operation in 2020, the $45-billion, 800-mile system is slated to have routes from Sacramento to San Diego with connections to the Bay Area and a major stop in Gilroy. Passengers will be transported at speeds of up to 220 mph. HSRA has narrowed the options for the rail line running through Gilroy. It will either be aligning with the current Union Pacific tracks and run through the downtown corridor or cut through the rural area east of U.S. 101. A combination of the two routes is also possible.

“There are people out there who (the high speed rail) affects them very dearly. We’ll be talking about them, about their concern,” Woodward said.

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