They were also "surprised" to hear that the BART project could only be built in phases. VTA released its updated costs for the BART project, which VTA insisted that it must be withheld from the public before last year's election. Overall, the total cost for the line to Santa Clara has grown to $6.1 billion, which is not escalated to the year of completion, and does not include financing cost.
For us, there's nothing shocking:
Given the results, it is unlikely for voters to approve a third tax for the same project in the next 8 years, if not longer. VTA will have no choice but to build a shorter line (which was never put on the table before by VTA until right after the election) with the funding it already has. At the end, it may not be a win for the downtown delusionals who want nothing but a subway.
And that Guardino and Burns cheated the county taxpayers:
Although it may seem like an outcome of the Measure B vote, the Berryessa segment is actually a project that VTA could undertake without Measure B. VTA intentionally delayed in committing a feasible funding plan so that VTA could pretend that they really need the tax. Perhaps Measure B opponents like Rick DiNapoli and Bill Baron were right that the tax was actually to backfill VTA's inefficient operation.
Michael Burns knows as much as we do, but what he did was that he controlled the flow of information. Before the election, he said that VTA had the money to build the entire BART project but not to run it. Today, he said that VTA could only afford to build the line to Berryessa. Last month, VTA presented a revised operating plan for July that is supposed to keep the same level of transit service with no budget cuts. Now, transit service is on the chopping block. Also in January, Burns asked the VTA board to approve an updated Short Range Transit Plan that has an operating reserve of $50 million, which would continue to grow for years to come. Today, Burns presented a new projection that would eat up all the reserves.
The economy was already in poor shape months before the election. It should be a no-brainer to know that VTA would be in a deep crisis soon. Burns withheld information at the time when voters were deciding whether to trust VTA, and only release bad news when voters no longer matter to VTA.