Friday, January 26, 2007

The boondoggle in SF

The Silicon Valley isn't the only area run by subway delusionals, San Francisco also has its share of delusionals when it comes to the Central Subway project. The project is estimated to cost $1.4 billion for 1.7 mile of new rail. In some ways it makes the San Jose BART project look like a bargain.

The Central Subway was supposed to be a new spine connecting light rail lines from Chinatown, the Richmond, and the Bay View districts, similar to the existing Market Street Subway. Although a good concept, the project as currently planned would fail to meet much of its transportation objectives with short platforms and inconvenient connection to other transit lines on Market Street. Nonetheless, the project has its share of supporters. They claim, not so much that this project actually improve transportation in a cost effective manner, but in some magical way the project would benefit local businesses and residents and it has the support from the community.

What this means is that the Central Subway, like the BART project, has been hijacked by non-transit advocates to waste valuable transit funds for soft non-transportation benefits.

Despite its problems, the Central Subway can still receive federal funding, especially considering that Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, represents the district where the project lies.

The moment of truth for the Central Subway would likely depend on the success or failure of the T-Third Street line, which opened for weekend service on January 13 until April, when full weekday service commences. The T line, primarily a surface light rail line, has experienced long delays and huge cost overruns. The T line has the support from the African American community in the Bay View and its leaders believe that the T line would be the key to revitalize the neighborhood. However, riders have reported that the T line is slower than the parallel bus service, despite traffic signal priority and exclusive right-of-way available most of the corridor.

Friday, January 05, 2007

VTA 2007 agenda in Sacramento

Regarding new sales taxes:

  • Support efforts to place a constitutional amendment before the voters of California to allow them to decide whether the two-thirds voting requirement for local transportation sales tax measures should be lowered. (page 5)
  • Amending VTA's enabling statutes to allow VTA to impose local transportation sales taxes in one-eigth-cent increments verses quarter-cent increments. (page 11)