October 14, 2010
Mayor Al Pinheiro
City of Gilroy
7351 Rosanna Street
Gilroy, CA 95020
Mayor Steve Tate
City of Morgan Hill
1755 Peak Avenue
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Dear Mayors Pinheiro and Tate,
Thank you for your letter of June 30, 2010 addressed to our Chairman Pringle. Firstly, I need to
apologize for the delay in response, which may have been caused by my entry into the
organization at the time, but for some reason the letter was not brought to my attention.
Let me start by acknowledging the concerns you raised and expressing my commitment to
work with you and your city staffs to address, to the best of our ability, these issues in an
appropriate manner for your communities and to ensure a working partnership that will inform
the Authority’s planning and environmental review process.
As you know, there is an extensive environmental review process that still must be completed
before actual decisions are made regarding many of the aspects of this project. It is for that
reason that we cannot yet provide a definitive answer to all of your concerns. Through the
comprehensive California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA) reviews conducted jointly by the Authority and the Federal Railroad Administration,
the City and region will be able to understand the proposed facility footprints and design
elements of the project that are being considered, and the impacts on neighborhoods,
businesses and circulation, before decisions are made that will lead to the construction of the
high-speed rail system. Part of that process is to seek input from your communities and find
ways to work together to make the best project possible for the entire state of California. As
you know we are still early in the project-level environmental review process for the San Jose to
Merced section of the system which affects Gilroy and are gathering feedback to the
Preliminary Alternative Analysis report presented to the High-Speed Rail Authority Board in
To that end, we are actively engaged in researching the policy questions and potential impacts
to your community outlined in your letter. Your letter lists some of the many issues that must
be addressed thoughtfully and thoroughly in the project draft environmental impact
report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) that is being prepared and that will be
circulated for public review and comment. And we are pleased that your cities are so actively
engaged in the environmental review process very early on, though that does mean we have
not yet developed answers to every question raised. We continue to seek working partnerships
with all of the cities and counties along the high-speed rail line and we remain convinced that
the project will ultimately have a positive impact in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County, and
throughout the state.
We know from past elections and current voter surveys that Californians in general and
constituents in your area specifically support the development of high-speed rail.
I have been CEO of the project for a relatively short period of time and have been meeting with
communities across the state. High-speed rail, while common around the world, is a new
concept for California and the United States. There are many misconceptions and many real
concerns that need to be addressed, even as we recognize that Californians in your
communities and throughout the state continue to support this project.
The Authority intends to work to improve communication among our entities. As you know, we
too have been impacted by the economy and the state budget delays. Moreover, the process
does not always provide the kinds of resources communities might seek nor does it allow for
immediate answers to complex issues. Nevertheless, it is my intent to work cooperatively with
you in addressing your concerns. While I cannot guarantee specific outcomes, I intend to work
with you to provide the best possible solutions for both your communities and the state’s high-
speed train project.
I understand the Gilroy City Council is considering a “vote of no confidence” regarding
California High-Speed Rail. Given that many aspects of this project are still under study –
including many of the issues raised in your letter – I would respectfully request that you defer
any such action until we have had an opportunity to work together more closely, and to provide
you additional information for you and your constituents to review. I request that we agree to
enhance our efforts to work together on this project – to create jobs, reduce air pollution and
provide better mobility for the traveling public. I would ask that you continue to work with our
team to address the issues, find solutions, create and improve the atmosphere of cooperation.
We are willing to do our part, and have taken action to secure that funding becomes available
to those who offer connectivity to our high-speed rail system.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Roelof van Ark
Chief Executive Officer
cc: Jeff Barker