VTA chair brushes off Grand Jury SJ BART criticisms
- Published Monday, June 21, 2004, in the San Jose Mercury News
Transit chief still favors BART-to-S.J.
By Mike Zapler
Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage, the chairman of the Valley
Transportation Authority, said Sunday he was impressed by the research
contained in a recent grand jury report blasting the BART-to-San Jose
project, but was unmoved by its conclusions. Ultimately, the $4.2
billion project will rise or fall on its finances, which remain
unclear, Gage said.
[BATN finds it curious that Mr Gage could claim to be unmoved by the
report, since it largely _is_ about the project's finances!
However, unlike many of his VTA peers, Mr Gage is known to not be an
idiot, so it's possible that the politics of this will play out over
time, albeit at immense and unnecessary expense to Santa Clara County
tax payers and transit riders.]
The 19-member Santa Clara County civil grand jury was "pretty much on
the right track" with its concerns about how to pay for the project,
Gage said. "It's just that we need to get the data that's necessary
to make a decision. ... Everybody is saying, 'You can't do this, you
can't do that.' For me it's show me the facts."
Gage said that he expects the board to have enough information to make
a decision in December.
"The worst case is you don't do it at all, but I think there's
something in between," Gage said. "It may be a modified program, it
might be BART-to-Milpitas and then connect to light rail. Or it may
be you do everything you want to do, but in phases."
Gage, whose one-year term as chairman of the transit agency ends in
January, also disagreed that the 12-member board should be pared down
to five or seven members because it is, according to the grand jury,
too focused on parochial concerns to deal with regional transportation
"I think the members of the board are responsible enough to do what's
right," Gage said, although he added: "San Jose does have five
members and that does become very political."
Contact Mike Zapler at mzapler@... or (408) 275-0140.
[BATN: See also:
VTA determined to build BART regardless of cost or utility
SCCo. Grand Jury: Halt BART to SJ, reform VTA
Gage launches push for SCCo. transportation funds
Palo Alto fears VTA will blow all cash on SJ BART
Editorial: Don't let VTA let BART swallow Peninsula
Cities demanding VTA prioritize non-BART projects
Palo Alto questions VTA's BART "�ber alles" focus
Editorial: Time to pull the plug on SJ BART
Watchdog group calls on VTA to delay SJ BART
Editorial: Don't waste $170 million on SJ BART studies
Opinion: VTA costs are out of control
Gage on SJ BART: get it ready to go and "shelve it"
VTA faces critical decision: FTA won't back BART-SJ
VTA takes double blow to BART SJ
Letter: Stop sinking money into BART to SJ
Editorial: VTA deceptive on SJ BART tunnel funding
SJ BART extension gets "not recommended" rating
VTA CFO Buhrer, SJ BART project manager Ives resign
Letter: Drop SJ BART & fund good transit projects
Comment: BART director blasts SJ BART extension