Just before he left office, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his appointments for the High Speed Rail Authority Board, or in this case, his lack of an appointment. Though Silicon Valley is a central, if contentious, link in the rail route from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Rod Diridon was not reappointed to the Board.

Diridon is the longest-serving member of the Board, with ten years of “great experience,” according to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. “I’m disappointed he was not picked,” the Mayor continued, noting that Silicon Valley no longer has a voice in the planning of the new rail line.

The new membership shifted south instead, with the inclusion of Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and Fresno real estate developer Thomas Richards. The move signals a shift in priorities for the Authority, which once considered building the San Francisco to San Jose leg first, but then decided to build a 65-mile section in the Central Valley, from the town of Borden to Corcoran. That section has since been dubbed the “train to nowhere,” running as it does through “New Appalachia,” the part of California hardest hit by the recession.

Assemblyman Jim Beall (D-San Jose) is hoping that Silicon Valley will still have a voice in the planning, despite the former Governor’s recent appointments. “Silicon Valley needs to have strong and effective representation on the authority’s board,” he said. “High-speed rail is essential to our economy.”
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