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High-Speed Update: Wooing Asia, NorCal Resistance

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The governor is barnstorming Asia currently, visiting nations like China and South Korea to strengthen business ties. Also on Schwarzenegger's agenda are discussions surrounding the proposed $43 billion high-speed rail that would connect SoCal to NorCal. Today, the governor is (was) in South Korea riding their high-speed trains; he praised their system and said he'd consider their bids to build ours. As reported earlier this week, Japan offered loans to California to cover some of the cost--if we adopt their Shinkansen bullet train system, which links much of that nation with 185 mph trains.

Schwarzenegger is also enticing China to help build and finance California's high-speed network. "Industry experts say cash-rich China may be best placed to help with funding, and less risk averse than others whose banks are still recovering from the financial crisis," according to a story in the Associated Press.

Closer to home, tensions in northern California continue: Residents near Palo Alto are not happy with the proposed route and want some of it underground. The San Jose Mercury-News reports that Caltrain, which owns the right-of-way, has asked the state's high-speed rail authority to phase in the project, which locals think could lead to a route more preferable to them, including an underground segment: "the agency was scheduled to formally announce Tuesday its request for the rail authority to 'refocus' its environmental impact report on the design and construction of an initial phase of the project." Palo Alto city councilman Larry Klein still has problems with the project, along with many on the Palo Alto City Council) and said "Caltrain could be more effective than any city in bringing down the project because it controls the track right of way."

The Palo Alto City Council is discussing on Monday whether to move forward with a possible lawsuit against the train for allegedly not meeting environmental standards. The cities of Menlo and Atherton have already sued.

· Japan Readies Loans for High-Speed Train [Reuters]
· Schwarzenegger Checks Out China's High-Speed Rail [AP]
· Caltrain Asks High-Speed Rail Authority to Phase In Project [Mercury-News]
· Made in America, Built in China? [Curbed LA]