This really should be a “no-brainer” for Peninsula cities like Menlo Park.
Hi-Speed rail will provide few benefits and lots of headaches both during its multi-year construction and when (whenever?) it becomes operational between San Jose and San Francisco. The local, state and federal political battles will be mind numbing, and this mega-project will have a huge unpredictable price tag. It is also unclear how many people will actually use this service.
In contrast, a West Bay BART extension from San Francisco to San Jose could relieve a huge amount of existing and future congestion on local highways and arteries. What is needed is a BART line that runs parallel to and near Highway 280. This rail would attract thousands of Peninsula residents who would never take Caltrain because driving to and parking at its stations are way too inconvenient. And there is a potential BONUS, if BART committed to building a line on the west the idea of extending hi-speed rail through the Peninsula would lose its existing state support.
I think it’s worth a look and encourage Menlo Park to join other Peninsula cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara to explore what it would take to get the two counties interested in joining BART and building this west side line betweeen San Francisco and San Jose
Let’s pre-empt Peninsula High-Speed Rail and get a local rail service we badly need?
P.S. An Electrified Caltrain is NOT sufficient!