The bullet train’s exact route will not be set until environmental impact reports are issued, scheduled for next year. Still, the 30-mile stretch from downtown San Jose to Gilroy is a microcosm of the problems the California High-Speed Rail Authority has encountered up and down the state.
Over the last half-dozen years, the project has been bombarded by a dozen lawsuits and sharp protests — including a 2015 demonstration that drew hundreds to a downtown Los Angeles rail authority board meeting. The pushback has caused extended delays and led to costly political compromises.
Officials have said they are mindful of the project’s impacts and have tried to minimize them, but they have a railroad to build. In lengthy remarks in 2015, rail authority Chairman Dan Richard cited the larger benefits of the bullet train and lamented the effects, adding: “It just comes with the territory.”