A Santa Clarita delegation led Monday by Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean was in Los Angeles to discuss local concerns with the high-speed rail project.
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The meeting was in front of the California High Speed Rail Authority board of directors, which is determining the route for California’s multibillion dollar high-speed rail project.
The High Speed Rail Authority is scheduled for a Dec. 5 meeting, at which time they hope to have a high-speed rail plan for the board’s approval, with options and a recommendation.
Santa Clarita officials wanted to notify the board of their support of a two-mile extension of a tunnel that would make sure the route doesn’t pass through the SCV above ground, questions about the current service from Burbank to Palmdale and whether the rail plan could bypass the Santa Clarita Valley altogether in favor of a Burbank-to-Palmdale route.
“This is the first time at a public meeting held out here that we were able to propose these three points,” McLean said.
Santa Clarita officials would prefer the route avoid the Santa Clarita Valley altogether, because it’s proposed path doesn’t stop anywhere in the SCV, while essentially holding land development, businesses and schools hostage, she said.
“The way the route is supposed right now, we would get all of the impact and none of the benefit,” McLean added.
There was also support from Fifth District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who also advocated the direct San Fernando Valley to Antelope Valley plan, she said.
“Having a direct route from Burbank to Palmdale would negate any of the (negative impacts to the SCV),” she said. “That was something we were proposing to them.”
The city held a special meeting in June to address community concern regarding the high-speed rail plans, according to city officials.
“As (High Speed Rail Authority staff) has done its initial analysis to recommend that the station be placed in Burbank,” said Mike Murphy, intergovernmental relations officer for the city of Santa Clarita. “Based on that information, Councilmember McLean, Councilmember (TimBen) Boydston and Antonovich ask that (staff) consider a direct alignment.”
One of the primary concerns is child safety, Murphy said, back in June.
As the high-speed rail proposal stands now, an underground tunnel with high-speed rail tracks would extend the train’s path north from the San Fernando Valley.
The train tracks are scheduled to emerge above ground after an 8-mile stretch that will pass below the SCV.
Right now, that spot is near where the Vista Canyon Ranch project, an unbuilt slate of homes on the eastern side of the Santa Clarita Valley, will one day be built.
But it’s also near Pinecrest School, a private kindergarten-to-eighth-grade school, and Sulphur Springs Elementary School.
“In terms of where the track is proposed as it relates to the schools, it’s within several hundred feet — that’s the concern that the schools have,” said Mike Murphy, intergovernmental officer.
After listening to local issues, the City Council drafted a letter to Dan Richard, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority.
The next board meeting is scheduled to take place Nov. 7 at the Metro Board Room on One Gateway Plaza in Los Angeles.
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Source: Santa Clarita News