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MTC steals $91m from Dumbarton Rail for Warm Springs BART

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  • 1/28 Milpitas Post
    Published Wednesday, January 28, 2009, by the Milpitas Post BART receives major lift from transit agency By Wes Bowers Bay Area Rapid Transit is hoping its
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 2009
      Published Wednesday, January 28, 2009, by the Milpitas Post

      BART receives major lift from transit agency

      By Wes Bowers

      Bay Area Rapid Transit is hoping its planned station in Fremont's
      Warm Springs District can now be completed by 2014, thanks in part
      to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

      On Jan. 14, MTC's programming and allocations committee agreed to
      transfer $91 million initially slated for the proposed Dumbarton Rail
      Corridor Project to the Warm Springs BART extension project under its
      Regional Measure 2, approved by voters in 2004.

      Measure 2, which aimed to raise an estimated $125 million each
      year to implement the Regional Traffic Relief Plan, is considered
      a comprehensive strategy for addressing congestion in the transbay
      bridge corridors and enhance the convenience and reliability of the
      Bay Area's public transit system. Funds for the traffic relief plan
      will be generated by a $1 increase in tolls on seven Bay Area bridges.

      The MTC reasoned the $91 million could be better utilized for the
      Warm Springs extension as the Dumbarton Rail Corridor project is
      still in its early planning stages and in addition, still needs
      $300 million in funding.

      The Dumbarton Rail Project is a proposed passenger rail service that
      would span the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay, connecting
      communities in the East bay to those in the West Bay.

      A new rail bridge crossing the bay would replace the existing

      The Warm Springs BART extension is the only project under regional
      Measure 2 ready to go, according to BART Board of Directors President
      Tom Blalock.

      "There's not a lot (MTC) can do with the money if it hadn't been
      transferred out," he said. "I think this can make a richer stew by
      going ahead with the Warm Springs extension."

      Blalock added it could still be two years before other Regional
      Measure 2 projects can be started. Those projects include the
      Dumbarton Rail Corridor project, AC Transit's Berkeley/Oakland/San
      Leandro Bus Rapid Transit Project and the Oakland Airport Corridor

      Blalock said BART is ready to take bids on the Warm Springs station
      tunnel segment next month, and bidding for the rest of the project
      is scheduled for 2010.

      "I'd be surprised if any of the other projects have anything up and
      ready to go by 2010," he said. "It would be great if they did, but
      I'd be surprised if it happens."

      Last month, the state halted funding to more than 2,000 public
      works projects in California in the midst of a budget crisis.

      However, Blalock said the action, aimed at solving an anticipated
      $40 billion shortfall through mid-2010, should not affect the Warm
      Springs extension.

      "Everything is working well and we should leapfrog along," he said.
      "I look forward to breaking ground hopefully before my term on the
      board ends."

      Blalock claimed many San Mateo County residents raised concerns to
      the MTC at the Jan. 14 meeting, stating the Dumbarton Rail Corridor
      project should remain on track. But he added keeping the $91 million
      in that project would only raise its cost, as well as the costs of
      other projects closer to breaking ground.

      "Lots of transportation projects inflate to a price you can't afford
      if you keep the money in place," he said. "The Warm Springs extension
      can be an economic stimulus for the Bay Area and get people back to

      During the meeting, MTC staffers also recommended the board adopt
      a resolution prioritizing the BART to Warm Springs project for $40
      million of the State Local Partnership program funds expected to be
      available to MTC/BATA through multi-year actions by the California
      Transportation Commission.

      The final proposal to reallocate Regional Measure 2 funds to the
      Warm Springs extension was expected to be presented for approval
      at MTC's Jan. 28 meeting.

      [BATN: See also:

      MTC panel shifts $91m from Dumbarton Rail to Warm Springs BART

      SJ BART to get big funding boost from CTC, Dumbarton Rail

      MTC OK's shifting $91m from Dumbarton Rail to Warm Springs BART

      Dumbarton Rail to lose $91m to help feed SJ BART money pit

      Column: MTC to revisit taking $91m from Dumbarton rail for BART

      Editorial: BART vs. Dumbarton rail; dysfunctional transit planning

      Warm Springs BART vs. Dumbarton Rail debate gets testy

      Should Warm Springs BART defund transbay Dumbarton Rail?

      Editorial: Don't divert Dumbarton rail funds for costly SJ BART

      Dumbarton Rail may be sacrificed to help SJ BART, Pacheco HSR

      SCCo. Grand Jury advises VTA to pull Dumbarton rail funds

      SCCo. civil grand jury questions VTA's Dumbarton rail contribution
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/38710 ]
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