The  Metropolitan Transportation Commission recommended a route Wednesday for a planned high-speed rail line linking Northern and Southern California.

The selection of the Pacheco Pass route is controversial, and has been publicly opposed by several environmental groups.

“I have to believe politics was involved, and specifically a coalition of folks that want very much to have San Jose be the hub of the high speed rail system,” said Stuart Flashman[cq], an Oakland-based attorney representing the coalition of environmental groups, which includes the Sierra Club.

The coalition held a press conference in Oakland Wednesday to object to the commission’s plan. The group believes the commission’s recommendation made mistakes about ridership projections and environmental impact.

The route recommended by the transit commission, which runs through the Pacheco Pass, favors the South Bay. The option endorsed by the environmental coalition, Altamont Pass, would have favored the East Bay.

Although in the commission’s proposal the train will still run through the Altamont Pass, it will go only as far as Livermore.  The East Bay will be linked to the high-speed rail line by BART or another form of transit.

The high-speed rail link will take several decades to build.

Advertisements