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HSRA chair Kopp wants to end HSR at SF Caltrain terminal

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  • 11/17 SF Chronicle
    Published Monday, November 17, 2008, by the San Francisco Chronicle Column: Matier & Ross By Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross [...] Derailed: California
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2008
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      Published Monday, November 17, 2008, by the San Francisco Chronicle

      Column: Matier & Ross

      By Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross


      Derailed: California bullet-train champion Quentin Kopp had his
      fellow Proposition 1A supporters choking on their election night
      Champagne with his pronouncement that the current Caltrain station
      at Fourth and Townsend would make a fine high-speed rail station
      -- and that San Francisco's plan for a Grand Central Station-style
      downtown hub was a waste of time and money.

      "I am not going to pay $2.5 billion to move a track 1.4 miles,"
      said Kopp, the former San Francisco supervisor, state senator
      and retired judge who now chairs the California High Speed Rail
      Authority <http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov>.

      It's an interesting stance, given that:

      * State lawmakers cleared locals to buy land to build a new Transbay
      Terminal <http://www.transbaycenter.org> and an adjacent skyscraper
      with the idea that the terminal would house the high-speed rail

      * Bay Area voters passed a $1 bridge toll hike to help pay for a
      bullet-train-friendly terminal.

      * And the state legislation that authorized Prop. 1A specifically
      stated that the $10 billion in bond money would help "initiate the
      construction of a high-speed train system that connects the San
      Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim."

      Kopp, however, maintains there's nothing in writing that says the
      money has to go toward a new station.

      As far as Kopp is concerned, just coming up with the full $33 billion
      to get the bullet train rolling will be tough enough -- and if San
      Francisco wants to extend the line all the way into downtown, then
      the locals should pay for it.

      Of course, this isn't just about money.

      The irascible Kopp is also in the middle of another of his infamous
      turf fights -- this time with Transbay Joint Powers Authority head
      Maria Ayerdi, protege of Kopp's longtime nemesis Willie Brown.

      "This director and her publicity agent keep showing up (at every
      meeting and press conference) as if she is part of the high-speed
      rail project," Kopp said. "She is not.

      "She is annoying ... and she and her flacks need to stay out of our

      Don't bet on it.

      "We are applying for funds and would expect to qualify," said Adam
      Alberti, spokesman for the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.


      Call columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross at (415) 777-8815,
      or e-mail matierandross@...

      [BATN: See also:

      HSRA may not pay to reach downtown SF Transbay Transit Center

      Editorial: Challenge is to keep Transbay Terminal vision on track
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/38290 ]
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