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and consider what else might be needed for a project of this scope,” Ramirez said. “We’ll be dealing with lengthy construction, the staging of heavy equipment and materials, traffic impacts and other issues. “Our goal is to take our design guidelines to the Authority before their EIR/EIS report comes out this fall.” During the meeting, Council Member Caitlin Jachimowicz asked Tripousis, “What’s the likelihood…that community input will impact decisions for the project?” Tripousis said, “The preferred alternative alignment isn’t necessarily final. We’ve asked the Federal Railroad Administration for additional time for input and evaluation. We could still modify the alignment alternatives we have on the table now.” Watch for upcoming meetings: Gilroy This is an exciting time for the City of Gilroy. Many in the community believe that the birth of a high-speed rail station will be a boon for Gilroy, transforming it into a regional hub for commerce, but they want answers about HSR impacts, costs, and benefits. Gilroy City Council hosted Ben Tripousis at the June 5th meeting. CHSRA has given Gilroy three alternatives for its station area: A Downtown Gilroy station area using an embankment, or a viaduct, or an East Gilroy Station area using an embankment. Gilroy City staff invited two consulting partners to highlight findings from their qualitative review and assessment of proposed high-speed rail alignment and sta- tion area options. PlaceWorks focused on environmental review topics. BAE Urban Economics focused on the effects of high-speed rail construction activity on nearby property and businesses; and potential long-term effects of a high-speed rail station on the local economy. During the early part of the meeting, people seemed to be leaning toward the Downtown Gilroy Station alternative with a viaduct design. Connie Rogers, of Gilroy Growing Smarter, stressed the importance of investing in downtown revitalization while preserving prime ag land, which the Downtown viaduct would support. But the discussion was driven by the desire to dig deeper and explore additional align- ment alternatives. According to Gilroy Chamber President Mark Turner: “Aerial alignment will impact our streets. We don’t know what the construction timeline is or what the visual impacts might be. There should be an economic impact analysis done so busi- ness owners understand what they’re in for…and a business attraction strategy plan. We don’t want to say to businesses, ‘We don’t know the potential impact, we don’t know the timeline, but we encourage you to come downtown.’ We encourage you to delay a decision, and do an economic impact analysis.” Several others echoed his concerns. By the end of the meeting, Mayor Roland Velasco directed City staff to continue to work with the Authority on evaluation of the HSR alignment options, identifying potential alternatives including a potential Highway 101 alignment; and to send a letter to the Authority requesting additional time for the EIR comment period. “We can look at modifying the alternatives that have been presented thus far. For an infrastructure project of this size, in a largely built-out urban setting, it’s all a matter of tradeoffs… We have a 123-mile corridor, and there aren’t 3 feet that don’t have some conflict or issue that we need to address.” “We can’t get to appraisal or acquisition until the EIR process is completed and we are nowhere near that,” Tripousis said. “The August date is moving further out. Our hope is to have the EIR/EIS ready before the end of the year…” Learn more online at and GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY/AUGUST 2017 “I oppose routing of the rail through central San Martin and support minimizing conflicts with our Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan. I will continue to advocate for South County, but the ultimate decision about which route alternative and other aspects of the project rests solely with the state and the High-Speed Rail Authority.” County Supervisor Mike Wasserman In Closing Hopefully, High-Speed Rail will become something we’re proud to call our legacy to future generations. Will greater mobility bring our state in