Crescenta Valley Weekly: High Speed Rail Should Be Done Right

Robin Goldsworthy of the Crescenta Valley Weekly reports on high speed rails in California

California has been a leader in the nation in so many ways, and over the next few years, we will have the opportunity to do so again by constructing the nation’s first high speed rail. This is long overdue – while many countries in Europe and Asia have used these fast-moving trains for many years, the United States is only now moving away from its reliance on traditional forms of transportation.

The Angeles National Forest is a cherished part of Los Angeles County. It offers rich biodiversity that needs protection and allows Los Angeles residents to escape the urban setting and experience open space and natural wonders in our backyard. In fact, the Angeles Forest is one of the most heavily utilized forests in the nation. For this reason, residents of Southern California have been working with me for over a decade to preserve these lands and the surrounding Rim of the Valley as part of a new or expanded national recreation area. Within the next few weeks, the National Park Service is expected to release its draft report on which areas should be given the enhanced resources and protection that would result from their inclusion in a recreation area, and I will be introducing legislation in the upcoming session of Congress to make such an expanded park a reality.

Planning massive construction of a rail corridor through the forest while the Rim of the Valley is under active consideration as a recreation area, and before the Forest Service can devise a management plan for the already existing monument makes little sense – either planning for the rail line would have to be put on hold for years, or any plan that would go through the forest would have to be subject to radical revision later. Either way, the costs to the project in dollars, delay and opposition would be high.

The original route from to Palmdale to Burbank bypassed the Angeles National Forest altogether and ran alongside California State Route 14. Tunneling through the forest wasn’t even under consideration until this summer, when a new corridor – the East Corridor – was proposed to take the high-speed rail directly through the Angeles National Forest. The slightly faster speeds that may be gained by going through the forest do not outweigh the far greater costs to the project and the damage that might be done to our environment. I believe the Authority should scrap its plan to study the Angeles National Forest as a possible route and go back to its original plan.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) represents the 28th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

To read full article, please click here.

By:  Robin Goldsworthy
Source: Crescenta Valley Weekly