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