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Politicians congratulate selves on BART extension

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  • 6/22 SF Chronicle
    Published Sunday, June 22, 2003, in the San Francisco Chronicle Stars come out for BART S 1st run to SFO Those who fought for long-awaited extension celebrate
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2003
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      Published Sunday, June 22, 2003, in the San Francisco Chronicle

      Stars come out for BART'S 1st run to SFO
      Those who fought for long-awaited extension celebrate

      By Ryan Kim

      A dream 30 years in the making finally pulled into San Francisco
      airport and it bore a striking resemblance to a gleaming BART train.

      Dozens of dignitaries joined thousands of curious and excited
      passengers in celebrating the long-awaited extension of BART to San
      Francisco International Airport with a sneak glimpse Saturday
      afternoon. A dedication ceremony and free preview run prepared the way
      for today's start of regular service on the 8.7-mile extension.

      Travelers buzzed with eager anticipation while an impressive assembly
      of federal, state and local politicians waxed poetic about the
      realization of a long-held goal.

      "Thirty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson was in the Bay Area to
      preside over the first groundbreaking BART ever had," said Gov. Gray
      Davis, at a ceremony at the airport. "At that time, linking BART to
      the airport was a distant dream. Well, today, my friends, this dream
      has become a reality."

      OTHER DIGNITARIES

      Davis joined Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta; California
      Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; and Reps. Nancy Pelosi,
      D-San Francisco; Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek; and Tom Lantos, D-San
      Mateo. San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, BART Directors James Fang and
      Dan Richard, and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp
      were also among the many officials attending.

      Like old war buddies trading harrowing stories, the politicians
      marveled at their collective accomplishment in the face of long odds
      and the cooperation and unity that finally brought about the extended
      BART line.

      Kopp, who was instrumental in pushing the project, praised his peers
      as well as local voters, who in 1994 decisively affirmed their desire
      for the airport extension in a proposition advisory vote.

      "I salute the Proposition I progenitors and voters, who kept the faith
      with dogged determination, thus preventing a historical injustice,"
      Kopp said. "For those who record history, make no mistake: without
      Proposition I, we would not be so proud and so congratulatory today."

      While officials ushered in the new era with speeches, swarms of people
      at various stations lined up like visitors to Disneyland to take their
      first ride to the airport. Their wait was prolonged for a time as the
      airport festivities ran long, delaying trains in and out of the
      airport.

      "This is long overdue," said Jackie McMillen, 43, of San
      Bruno. "People have been stuck in gridlock for years. We should be
      able to get in and out of the city with ease."

      AMONG THE FIRST

      Alex Liu, 49, of Los Altos, had the good fortune to land at SFO
      Saturday afternoon just in time to catch the first train to
      Millbrae. He said the train provides a vital link between the Millbrae
      Caltrain/BART station and the airport.

      "It's great and it's convenient," said Liu, who flew in from a
      business trip in England. "Before, I had to arrange rides to the
      airport. Now I can just take Caltrain and BART to SFO."

      Doris Morse, former mayor of Millbrae, was among the first to take the
      inaugural ride on the extension. She said it confirmed all the work
      she and so many others did to bring BART to the airport.

      "I couldn't be more thrilled to see this line go up and to see that
      the right people prevailed," Morse said.


      E-mail Ryan Kim at rkim@...
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