Thursday, May 10, 2007

The multi-billion-dollar tax-funded "Safeway" in Milpitas?

Talking about the design of an underfunded BART station certainly brings excitement for the local politicians. The Milpitas City Council was recently presented with the station design proposals and endorsed a "vault" design for the station.

Station design presentation

Despite the excitement, the mayor found the "vault" design similar to old Safeway stores:

"That design...(in) my impression and my first look is this is a bigger version of a Safeway building at Ocean Market (Safeway's former site in Milpitas), or (Safeways) I saw in San Francisco,"Mayor Jose Esteves said.

It is similar indeed.

A non-delusional council member was not as interested in the design but much more concerned about funding:

"I know that BART and VTA (are) having financial difficulties," she said. "I don't have this confidence that we're going to see all of these stations, especially in my lifetime...", Councilwoman Althea Polanski said.

However, a taxpayer-funded BART promoter at VTA is trying to cover up the severity of funding shortage for the BART project:

"We have 80 percent of the capital funding for the project. We are still working on getting (a Federal Transportation Administration) grant for $750 million," VTA Planner Marian Lee-Skowronek said.

The truth is that VTA needs a new tax and the cost for the BART project, including the "Safeway" store is much higher than what VTA is admitting. Also, the projected ridership of 30,000 a day for that station is not realistic, considering that 30,000 is the current ridership level for a downtown San Francisco station.

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