From today's BayRail Alliance Announcement:
1) VTA Board approves BART preliminary engineering contracts
After a somber and extended discussion, in which several of the VTA board members expressed concerns about the BART project and suggested that VTA study alternatives, the board voted 9-2 to approve the preliminary engineering contracts. Councilmember Greg Perry and Supervisor Liz Kniss voted No.
We're disappointed with this outcome. The overwhelming majority of the public testimony they received was against spending more on BART. Margaret Okuzumi was interviewed by both KRON 4 and NBC 11. Please look for her appearance on the 6 o'clock news tonight. She was also interviewed (in English) by Sing Tao Chinese Radio.
Supervisor Kniss repeatedly mentioned the cost overruns of Boston's "Big Dig" -- a project that was originally priced at $4 B and is now priced at $16 Billion -- and expressed concern over the construction risks of tunneling. "I say we're on the wrong track with these precious transit dollars," said Kniss. Among other concerns, she noted BART doesn't yet connect to the county line.
This fight isn't over -- VTA will be putting a measure on the ballot in 2008 to obtain more taxes for the BART project. If that tax is defeated, then the VTA board will be forced to consider superior rail alternatives that don't require a new tax.
Meanwhile, please thank Greg Perry and Supervisor Liz Kniss for their No vote.
The rest who support these contracts fall under two categories: delusional and chickened. Members like Cindy Chavez and Forrest Williams clearly fall under the delusional category, for being beholden to the South Bay Labor Council and the construction unions. Members like Don Gage and Breene Kerr fall under the chickened category. They knew that the BART extension as planned is infeasible and will hurt their constitutents, but they were too chickened to vote no because they were too chickened to be the ones that kill the BART extension. They would prefer someone else to do this tough job.
The 2008 Measure A campaign has begun.