HSRA chair Kopp wants to end HSR at SF Caltrain terminal
- 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
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
* 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