Nevin assailed for effect of costly Millbrae BART on SamTrans
- Published Saturday, April 15, 2006, in the San Mateo County Times
Foes rail on Nevin's record
Yee, Papan assail decision on BART extension during transportation
By Laura Ernde
SAN CARLOS -- Mike Nevin's opponents for state Senate faulted his
record on transportation Friday, saying the deal to bring BART to
the San Francisco Airport has drained money from San Mateo County's
Under Nevin's watch, Assemblyman Leland Yee and former Assemblyman
Lou Papan said, bus service has suffered because the San Mateo
County Transit District committed to paying BART millions of dollars
a year to subsidize its airport extension.
"I'm not sure that was the right decision. As a result you have a
system that's suffering," Yee said. "Unfortunately, transportation
in San Mateo County is an absolute mess."
The three Democrats talked about transportation, infrastructure and
housing issues in the second of three debates taped for the cable TV
public affairs show "The Game."
People who live in the Belmont Hills and El Grenada have complained
at how long it takes to ride a bus to city centers on the Peninsula,
Papan said Caltrain has had to close stations and raise fees to make
Nevin defended the decisions of the SamTrans board, which oversees
Caltrain and the bus service.
"BART was the right thing to do. We were trying to make up for a
horrible mistake," Nevin said, referring to the county's decision
not to become part of the public transit system when was it was
originally built decades ago. "I'mproud of what I did."
Yee accused Nevin of stealing a public seat on the SamTrans board
after he was no longer eligible to serve as the San Mateo County
Board of Supervisors' representative because his term was over.
Nevin made no apologies for the appointment, which allowed him to
serve an additional year on a number of Bay Area transportation
agencies where he had honed his expertise.
SamTrans buses, Caltrain and BART all have seen increases in
ridership, he said.
Papan said local efforts have failed to improved transportation,
and proposed a change in the gas tax so it goes up with inflation.
The candidates also were asked about the statewide infrastructure
bond that will not go before voters this June because the
Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger could not agree on its
size and scope.
Although lawmakers are working to get something on the November
ballot, Yee said, it might now be delayed until June 2007.
Moderator Mark Simon pressed him on the issue, asking why there
wasn't more of a sense of urgency.
Yee said negotiations have stalled because Schwarzenegger doesn't
want to include money for schools and hospitals.
The debate will air Sunday morning on TV20 cable channel 13 and
6:30 p.m. Sunday on Peninsula TV26. Complete information on air
dates is online at <http://www.pentv.tv>.
One more debate will be taped leading up to the June 6 primary.
The three Democrats are vying for the 8th District seat held by
state Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, who is termed out of
office and running for lieutenant governor.
Staff writer Laura Ernde covers county government and transportation
issues. She can be reached at (650) 306-2428 or by e-mail at