Editor, The Bulletin,
I thoroughly enjoyed (perhaps not the ‘right’ word for it) your column on Friday, Jan. 19, “Pacheco Pass may turn high speed rail into Jerry’s Folly.’ To me it epitomized why Governor Jerry Brown during his first two terms way back around the mid 1970s was called ‘Governor Moonbeam.’
As I remember, one reason was that when he took office, he stopped the building of the interchange on Highway 101 in southeast San Jose. The huge interchange stood there without being completed until he left office; this was a problem as it was a dangerous part of the highway without the overpass interchange where Highway 101 continued south and another freeway went southwest of San Jose, connecting with Highway 17. It was a busy intersection and seemed dangerous to me as I drove my daughter home from San Jose State on weekends and then drove her back on Sunday. It seemed then and now a dangerous decision and there were accidents. After his term and a new governor took office and finished the overpass, it was much, much easier and less terrifying than it had been before. And it cost more than the original cost was. His decision certainly was not a good one whatever the reason was — I think it was for the ‘environment.’
I thought of that because of the Pacheco Pass idea. It seems to me that the governor thinks more about what he will get out of these decisions than what is best for us — the ‘people.’
Pacheco Pass is close to the Pinnacles National Monument —earthquake country. Since the San Andreas basically runs northwest to southeast across California, I am wondering why the train will have to run 1000 feet below the surface of the earth where the fault is? By going over Altamont Pass he would miss the San Andreas. Yes, I know there is an earthquake fault in Livermore and many other places, but the San Andreas is “the” big fault in California. If you look at a map of the San Andreas Fault, you can clearly see this or look up geographical information about the Pinnacles National Monument. Even if the train does end up crossing the San Andreas in the Bay Area, it would not be underground. You cannot go under the San Andreas.
By crossing the hills adjacent to Pacheco Pass, he skips our area totally. The push for homes for people working in the Bay Area is pushing our cities in all directions including east. Our highways in this area, especially those heading west, are very, very crowded and will only get worse. If Jerry Brown were worried about the climate and our air quality, he would continue the train through the Altamont Pass, a much better choice in so many ways in my mind. And he would abandon the tunnels — both the one for the train and those for moving our water south.