SACRAMENTO- Today Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Rail, blasted the proposed elimination of Merced from the Initial Operating Segment of the high-speed rail during a joint legislative hearing to review the High-Speed Rail Authority’s Draft 2016 Business Plan.

“Not only is the Authority breaking its promise to the people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley by eliminating Merced from the initial segment, but the new proposal doesn’t connect the bedroom communities that need the train to the Bay Area, ” said Gray. “We do not need to build 90 miles of track South of Fresno while failing to reach Bakersfield. Virtually no one will commute from Shafter to San Jose for work. That money should be spent connecting the communities of Merced, Modesto, and Stockton where thousands of people make this commute every day.”

With the release of the Draft 2016 Business Plan, the High-Speed Rail Authority proposed amending the south-oriented Initial Operating Segment from Merced to the San Fernando Valley to a north-oriented route from Shafter to San Jose. Under the new plan, service to Merced would be provided no earlier than 2029.

“Residents of the Northern San Joaquin Valley were also promised improvements to existing rail lines through the San Joaquin, ACE, and Capitol Corridor,” continued Gray. “But this new plan largely ignores those important investments and does nothing to address congestion on the Altamont or Highway 99. There is a lot of work left to be done on this draft before we finalize anything.”

Assemblymember Gray says he’s more than a bit disappointed in the new HSR plan. (:12)

Assemblymember Gray says there are numerous problems with the new HSR plan. (:24)

Assemblymember Gray says the new plan will hurt HSR ridership by ignoring so many people in the northern San Joaquin Valley. (:17)

Assemblymember Gray says many Central Valley local officials who supported HSR are very upset they were NOT consulted before the new business plan was released. (:13)

Assemblymember Gray says the new plan may result in a loss of support for HSR in some Central Valle communities. (:09)

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