BART to "Silicon Valley" is a fraud

  1. VTA proposes to build a BART line from Warm Springs to what is currently the site of the Berryessa Flea Market. There's nothing "Silicon Valley" about that Flea Market site.
  2. For many years when Ron Gonzales was mayor, VTA wanted the federal government to fund a longer line to the Santa Clara freight rail yard. The federal government denied funding for the project because the downtown segment was deemed to be not cost effective and would put even more VTA bus service at risk. The federal government only allowed VTA to reapply funding and continue environmental planning after VTA has agreed to build a line to Berryessa for now (knowing that it doesn't have money to build anything beyond Berryessa, even before the 2008 election). So when someone suggests the federal government had a change of heart, it didn't. Rather VTA bowed to reality and the feds.
  3. Although the project is more affordable since it only goes to Berryessa, it still carries a huge price tag on a per mile basis, and would cost 5 times more per mile than the last light rail extension VTA built.
  4. VTA tries to justify the project with phony ridership projections. Not only the numbers for BART are phony, the ridership projection for light rail after the BART-Flea Market extension opens is also unrealistic.
  5. VTA basically took funds that could be better used to expand the bus, light rail, and Caltrain system for the Flea Market extension. VTA has continually reduced bus and light rail service since 2000, when it commited to the extension. The agency appearently has little regards to riders of minorites, low income, seniors, and disabled. General manager Michael Burns does not consider bus riders/supporters to be transit advocates, only those who drive cars and profit from construction spending.
  6. BART uses wide-gauge tracks, which are incompatible with all other trains in the region. BART tracks can't ever be shared with ACE, Caltrain, or high speed rail. In comparison, Caltrain plans to share infrustructure with high speed rail between San Jose and San Francisco.
  7. VTA has been untruthful about the project costs and its ability to finance it. In San Mateo County, the BART-SFO extension continues to take more than 20% of SamTrans sales tax income for debt service. As tax revenue continues to go down, SamTrans is now planning to cut funding to Caltrain.
  8. If the extension is complete, VTA will cut many of the direct express bus routes from Fremont to employment sites in the Valley. Riders will have to pay more to ride BART and a connecting a local bus.
    Because of the so called "green" politicians deluding themselves about BART and ignoring real transit advocates, the Bay Area is getting behind Southern California on expanding transit. While we are suffering from reduced bus service and higher fares, LA riders continue to enjoy more frequent bus service and one of the lowest bus and light rail fares in the state. By the time BART might go to Berryessa, Los Angeles would have many more miles of light rail built, and would likely to attract more riders.  Don't be deceived by empty VTA/SVLG rhetorics. They are setting up a transit failure while consultants/construction companies are profiting from it. VTA could instead be building a faster and less costly train, which can be better integrated with high speed rail.