Comment: HSRA study of Beale St. may cost SF Transbay $400m
- Published Wednesday, December 30, 2009, by the San Mateo Daily Journal
High Speed Rail Authority's destructive alternatives
By Chris Daly
I must admit that I was baffled reading Judge Quentin Kopp's piece "The Only Alternative to Coexistence is Co-Destruction" <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/43605> which ran in the Daily Journal on Dec. 22, 2009.
As a longtime advocate for high-speed rail, Judge Kopp should appreciate the negative impact of the California High Speed Rail Authority's (CHSRA) study of an infeasible alternative to San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center. The Beale Street Alternative, conjured up by San Francisco attorneys and lobbyists, has already been studied and rejected as a technically and economically infeasible terminus for high-speed rail.
Unfortunately, CHSRA's study of this alternative has already compromised the potential receipt of more than $400 million in federal stimulus dollars to the fully-approved Transbay Transit Center Project and ultimately to high-speed rail.
I along with many other Bay Area residents have stood with Judge Kopp in his dogged pursuit of funds to build a high-speed rail system in California. We have even campaigned with him in the recent victory on Proposition 1A that dictates that the northern terminus of high-speed rail be located in the Transbay Terminal.
Now it seems we are unable to get out of our own way to implement the vision of high-speed rail. The costly, unnecessary, and possibly illegal study of Beale Street is diminishing all of our chances to capitalize on the will of the voters to build a system for the ages. The entire Bay Area stands behind the Metropolitan Transportation Commission rail corridor plan, which was developed in partnership with CHSRA. This plan puts forward a vision, consistent with Proposition 1A, that completes the high-speed rail system at the most fitting and appropriate location in downtown San Francisco, the Transbay Terminal.
California's submission for federal stimulus funds includes a $400 million request to begin early construction of the high-speed rail system by building a train box in the Transit Center as part of its first phase of construction, saving more than $100 million to the overall cost of the program. This proposal is a direct benefit to the CHSRA and eases the strain on precious Proposition 1A funds. This application may be the most worthy candidate for stimulus funding based on shovel-readiness and support across the political spectrum, including: the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite this, the Federal Rail Authority, who approves these funding requests, has expressed concern about CHSRA's Beale Street Alternative study which is the only mark against the funding application.
In short, the only thing standing in our way of much needed federal stimulus dollars in California is CHSRA's likely illegal study of an infeasible alternative to a project in construction -- all on the behest of a lobbying and law firm.
We sincerely hope that the CHSRA will re-examine the motives behind this study and quickly dispose of it to get high-speed rail in California back on track. If you wish to join us in demanding better from the California High Speed Rail Authority you can sign on at http://change.org/actions/view/save_high_speed_rail_in_san_francisco
Chris Daly is a member of the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Member and Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
[BATN: See also:
Comment: HSR alternatives evaluation met with fear, confusion (22 Dec 09)
SF Transbay Terminal project delayed for federal stimulus decision
Interview: SF Transbay JPA executive director Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan
Sen. Feinstein backs SF Transbay Terminal HSR terminus
SF Transbay Terminal stimulus funding delay may cost $100m
Pelosi, Schwarzenegger back SF Transbay Terminal HSR terminus
HSRA eyes alternatives to Transbay Terminal for SF HSR station
HSRA's Kopp questions Transbay Terminal as best site for HSR
HSRA ignoring Transbay Terminal in SF station site planning
Will new SF Transbay Terminal fail to accommodate HSR?