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Monterey Park gets bullet train briefing

October 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
High-speed rail could turn into a reality in Southern California if federal stimulus money is granted. Monterey Park residents were briefed Wednesday on the proposed line that would run from L.A. through the Inland Empire to San Diego.Supporters of California's high speed rail line say the project would bring thousands of jobs, ease congestion, and help the environment. Now today in the first of four public hearings about the project in L.A. county rail authority employees are giving local community members a glimpse into the possible future.

By 2020, California's first high-speed rail line could be zipping through some parts of the state at nearly 220 miles per hour. Research into one of these Southern California portions, L.A. to San Diego, is just getting under way with a series of public meetings.

Yorba Linda resident Paul Schuber looks forward to faster trips to Modesto, where his family lives.

"Right now it takes me about six hours to drive home," said Schuber. "If I take the train, the normal train, it takes about 10 hours to get home, so this takes about two hours. So definitely this is much more of a better option, plus it's greener and it'll save money on costs and just energy in general."

Los Angeles Union Station is slated to be the hub for the L.A.-to-San Diego portion. The exact route is still unknown. Project planners are still investigating several options.

"If you start just south of Union Station and then we head east, various alternatives, we're looking at State Route 60 on the north, the Union Pacific rail line on the south and maybe something adjacent to it," said Jose Martinez, California High Speed Rail Authority. "As we get into the area of El Monte, South El Monte, we're looking at Interstate 10, the Metrolink San Bernardino line and also the Union Pacific railway."

The high-speed rail line would have one stop between Union Station and Ontario. The options include El Monte, West Covina, Pomona and the City of Industry.

At this point, though, the focus of the meetings is to gather feedback from the community and so far, at least at this site, the feedback is positive.

"I like the plan," said L.A. resident Mary Hazen. "I like what the governor said. I think they're going through the good steps. The financing, I think it is possible and it's going to make jobs for many people."

"I'm definitely in favor of it," said Pasadena resident Ken Sterling. "I think it's our one possible way out of our traffic mess.

There will be three additional informational meetings.


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