Sunday, October 02, 2005

The last rail ribbon cutting for a long, long time

Joined by the top politicians from the Santa Clara County, along with local representatives from the state legislature and the Congress, VTA celebrated the grand opening of the Vasona Light Rail extension.

Among the politicians spoke at the ceremony included County Supervisor Jim Beall, SJ Mayor Gonzales, SJ Councilmember Ken Yeager, Campbell Mayor Jane Kennedy, Los Gatos City Council member and VTA Chair Joe Pirzynski, Caltrain JPB and MTC Rep John McLemore, Assembly Member Rebecca Cohn, and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. Congressman Mike Honda also spoke through a pre-recorded video.

In addition to the politicians, Leslie Rogers from the Federal Transit Administration (which is working hard to keep VTA from insanity), SVLG's (the sales tax man) Carl Guardino, and the "Father of Light Rail", Rod Diridon, also spoke. Unlike most other public events, VTA's new GM Burns also spoke at the end of the ceremony to congratulate the agency's employees.

BART and sales tax were mentioned by a few speakers during the event, but were not mentioned quite as frequently as farmers' market. Nearly every politician spoke promoted his or her city's farmers' market and how to get there on light rail or by connecting transit.

After the opening day of free rides, this extension, like all rail projects, is on the hands of the riders, who will determine the success or failure of this project.

This is going to be the last rail ribbon cutting for a long, long time because VTA no longer has an active rail construction program and it is lacking funds (due to BART) to build the future extensions currently under study. Even with a new sales tax, VTA plans to open its next rail project - BART, in 2018, more than a decade away. If the politicians want to have another rail ribbon cutting get-together sooner, they should really consider abandoning BART.

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