Agency warns of $400M loss for Transbay project

The Redevelopment Agency will vote Tuesday on a resolution that slams the California High-Speed Rail Authority for exploring alternatives to the Transbay project that would have the high-speed rail not end at the proposed new Transbay transit hub.

The City plans to build a 1,000 foot tower and new transit hub at First and Mission streets and envisions the proposed high-speed rail – which would connect San Francisco to Los Angeles in a trip of only a few hours – stationed there.
The agency is concerned, however, with the recent work of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is exploring two other alternatives as part of the project environmental review. Those alternatives include having the high-speed rail station located at the existing Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets, about one-mile from the Transbay Transit Center, or locating it between Main and Beale streets extending down to Harrison street.

 “These proposals are legally, technically and financially infeasible and the CHSRA has enough information to determine that they should not be advanced for further study in the alternatives analysis process,” Redevelopment Agency director Fred Blackwell wrote in a report. “Even more importantly, analyzing alternative locations at this time creates uncertainty that could jeopardize the TJPA’s application for $400 million in federal stimulus funding for the Transbay Transit Center Project.”

Blackwell said that the alternative proposals “are legally, technically and financially infeasible and the CHSRA has enough information to determine that they should not be advanced for further study in the alternatives analysis process.”

The CHSRA are analyzing other locations as part of the environmental review process. But the draft resolution states examining the alternatives “would create greater significant environmental impacts than the approved Transbay Transit Center Project. Therefore, the CHSRA should accept the Transbay Transit Center as the San Francisco station for the HSR system and reject alternative locations.”

The Redevelopment Agency will vote Tuesday on the resolution urging the CHSRA to stop exploring alternatives.

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