At its meeting today, City Council will decide how the proposed high speed rail line will enter the city and make its way to Diridon station—on an elevated track, 60 feet above the city, or through a tunnel deep below it. An elevated track would be noisier and a potential eyesore. A tunnel would be more expensive and take longer to build.

While the city staff prefers the elevated route, this comes with a caveat. They want a legally binding agreement with the High Speed Rail Authority that would grant them veto power over the design and the materials used to construct the new line. The Downtown Association disagrees, and cites Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Anaheim, where tunnels are an integral part of the local high speed rail design.

San Jose’s problems are unique, the High Speed Rail Authority answers. Groundwater levels are high, the soil is loose, and the new track would have to compete with an underground BART track planned for Diridon Station. Furthermore, construction would take longer, causing disruptions downtown, especially near the HP Pavilion and the proposed ball park.

One thing is certain. The city must decide soon. The longer they delay a final decision, the more time it will take to receive state and federal funding to complete San Jose’s portion of the track.
Read More at the Mercury News.