Publications: Reports, Letters, Presentations

Reports and articles

February 9, 2011 “The California High Speed Rail project: What does it cost and why does it matter?” CARRD projects that the cost of the project is not $43 billion, but at least $65 billion. Ignoring rising costs will just lead to the truncation of the project on the ends.

Public testimony

November 28, 2012 Invited testimony California State Senate Transportation Committee
“The California High Speed Rail Project: Reviewing peer review” Written testimony


Public Records Act requests

November 2013 Letter from CHSRA denying our request for copies of the Central Valley Financial Plan, a key deliverable under the FRA funding contract because they are “draft”

February 2013 Letter to CHSRA Chief Counsel asking why they won’t release the Program Management progress reports, documents they have been giving us for two years

July 26, 2011  Letter to CHSRA Board asking for help to get certain ridership reports released and recommending changes in policy to comply with state law

December 10, 2010 Letter to CHSRA staff asking for the release of the Technical Memos



As part of our mission to encourage public participation and engagement, CARRD is happy to present to organizations and groups who are interested in learning more about the High Speed Rail project.   We have done presentations to both private and public groups, sometimes on our own and sometimes in conjunction with other speakers.  If you would like to discuss CARRD’s availability, feel free to contact us at

We are not rail experts; we are not environmental lawyers; we do not work for HSRA or any transit agency; we are volunteers.  In general, our advice is the perspective of ordinary citizens who have taken an active role in educating ourselves about the project and process and in trying to understand the impacts and possible benefits to our own community, and the state at large.  Our message is consistent:  active, collaborative participation from the widest audience possible is the best guarantee we collectively have as a state to get the best possible outcome:  a project that meets our transportation goals while at the same time enhancing the communities through which it travels.  We are committed to honoring the process as long as the process honors communities.

Further, we take our role as watch-dogs seriously, and continue to push for Transparency, Oversight and Accountability through every phase of the project.   Co-Founder Elizabeth Alexis has a professional background in Finance and Econometrics so we feel confident in speaking from a position of expertise in areas related to the Business Plan, Ridership Forecasts and financing.

Finally, we value civility and accuracy.  This is an incredibly important and complex project, with challenging technical, environmental, political, legal, and policy implications.  We do not believe there is a silver bullet solution that will satisfy everyone perfectly, or that a single-minded approach will result in the best possible outcome.  Representative democracy is messy, hard, contentious and sometimes deeply personal; this project is no different.  That doesn’t mean we can’t try to understand other people’s perspectives, and even learn from them, and always respect their right to voice their concerns and opinions.

Public Presentations

Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission – June 17, 2010

  • CARRD Presentation by Sara Armstrong. Presentation: here  (This presentation details the impacts to Palo Alto if the train stays at-grade and the roads are depressed.) It was verified by the engineers from HNTB for accuracy.

Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce – May 27, 2010

  • Also presenting: City Manager Jim Keene on behalf of Palo Alto; Gary Patton, on behalf of CC-HSR; Tony Carrasco & Bill Cutler, leading CSS Toolkit exercise
  • CARRD Presentation by Sara Armstrong. Presentation: here

Menlo Park Rotary Club – May 26, 2010

  • CARRD Presentation by Sara Armstrong. Presentation: here.

Burlingame Parent Education Meeting – May 25, 2010

  • Also presenting: Mike Garvey, on behalf of HSRA; Ted Crocker, on behalf of HSR-PREP
  • CARRD Presentation by Sara Armstrong. Presentation: here.

Mountain View Leadership Forum – May 21, 2010

  • CARRD Presentation by Sara Armstrong. Presentation: here

San Mateo Chapter of the League of Women Voters – March 16, 2010

  • Also presenting: Bethany Williams, HNTB on behalf of HSRA; Burlingame Vice Mayor Terry Nagel, on behalf of Burlingame and the Peninsula Cities Consortium
  • CARRD Presentation by Nadia Naik. Link to presentation.

Palo Alto City Council Study Session on HSR – March 15, 2010

  • Also presenting: Steve Emslie for the City of Palo Alto
  • CARRD Presentation by Nadia Naik.  Link to presentation.

San Mateo Union High School District – March 11, 2010

  • Also presenting: Bethany Williams, HNTB on behalf of HSRA
  • CARRD Presentation by Sara Armstrong. Presentation Slides (includes some backup slides not presented).

Presentation Materials

We try to tailor our presentations to focus on areas of particular interest to the audience and also to avoid duplicating material when other speakers are also presenting. We continue to develop and refine a generic “slide deck” that we can pull from.

You are welcome to use these materials in your own presentations, but we ask that you please remove the CARRD logo if you modify the text in any way.  If you see any inaccuracies, omissions, or misleading statements in any of our slides, please contact us immediately so we can correct them:  We appreciate collaborating with the many engaged and knowledgeable folks  in the community, both professionals and laypeople.

Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD)