Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Becoming an early lame duck

San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, scheduled to become a lame duck in November following the next mayoral election due to the term limit, has removed himself from key committees, including the VTA board. He was censured by the City Council last month for his actions in regards to the garbage collection contract with Norcal Waste Systems.

Before the revelation of the garbage scandal and the subsequent censure, Gonzales was considered on track for a state office. With his reputation tarnished, his resignation from the VTA board could be a move to try to save the BART project by dis-associating his pet project from himself. Since 1999, he has pushed the BART project through years of political bullying, including the endorsement of over-projected ridership and tax revenue.

A transit project shouldn't be controversial, but BART itself has been controversial due to its extreme high cost in contrast to the area density, abnormal incompatibility to other rail systems, and a paper trail of cost-overruns and failure of meeting ridership projections. Is BART one of no-so-smart political decisions that Gonzales made just like the garbage scandal? Does he cares about our tax dollars just like the garbage scandal? Does removing himself from the VTA board make the BART extension, which requires another sales tax increase, no longer his pet project?

Becoming a lame duck or not, we shouldn't live with the legacy of having an over-priced and under-performed rail line that will be a drain on our tax dollars for decades to come.

2 comments:

gman52 said...

Hello,

In Tokyo, Japan, there is one central circular train that all other systems connect too, like the hub of a wagon wheel, the Marunouchi sen.

Had Bart been completed in the 1970's, it would produce similar economies of scale for mass transit. Without a commplete circular BART, all bay area transit systems will never connect.

Gary - Saratoga

accountablevta said...

The problem of transit in the Bay Area is an institutional one, not a technology one. New York's subway system was able to operate as one system even though it operates two different types of subway trains that are not compatible with each other. Los Angeles was able to have one fare applied to buses, light rail, subway, and BRT.

You cannot solve an institutional problem with expensive trains. In the East Bay, AC Transit and BART have no common fare arrangement and discounts other than a one way discount transfers that no one knows about. In San Mateo County, SamTrans has to sacrifice bus service to pay for empty seats on BART trains. Is either the East Bay or San Mateo County the model for the South Bay?