Re: Dumbarton corridor study - Why not?..
Date: 08-11-2017 - 04:05
The reality is that this was already set up to prioritize the majority of funding for the Bridge, BART, and the projects that supplied the votes and could find the rest of the project cost match, which Dumbarton never has.
There was never enough money in all of RM2 to actually fund out any of the project list. It was to be used as a source of funding for part of the required Local match. This is why there funding "commitments" were so loose. This is unlike the LA County measures which generates a lot more money from the sales taxes, just for one County, and where folks insisted on far stronger commitment to sign off on their support for the measures.
This is why the LA County measure have had much more enforceable project funding commitments, which didn't require match, and has entirely used "local" funds to build entire projects, like complete phases of the Gold Line. Which received no Federal funding. This included some projects that probably would not have qualified for any FTA funding, using the FTA cost effective criteria. The local commitment to fund the extension to Claremont is in that category, which came in very low, when I was asked to see how it would fare on the FTA cost effectiveness criteria, back in 2008.
As to the assertions about BART cars and the like, I don't know about how this is exactly shows evidence of BART car "vendor greed" or some sort of ripoff. That problem has been there all along and has probably added incrementally to procurement costs. How this is a function of "vendor greed" is questionable. In our system, companies are motivated by making evil "profits" for investors and stockholders (which might even be part of your 401k...as a "saver"0 are why companies are willing to compete at all, to bid on orders like this, and sell things to you. And, it should be noted that there are other wide gauge transit and rail systems elsewhere in the world market for transit equipment.
There are many factors that were minefields waiting to blow up Dumbarton-Altamont, but the stories Hutch posted, that were published, especially at the early decision points back in 2008, show that there was, at the time this "promise" was included in RM2, as yet no real plan or concurrent commitment for Altamont improvements. There was, as yet, no real commitment of funding for ACE or Caltrain to actually operate over any future Dumbarton project.
The new ACE plan, the Gas tax compromise in the Valley, and this latest Dumbarton study were just done in the last tow years, and were still missing pieces to this vague R2M "commitment", when it was made 13 years ago.
The most damning evidence about why that commitment disappeared comes from reading the criteria, and reading the local news articles from the key initial decisions points back in 2008 where the locals utterly failed, apparently even after getting and initial "place in line" in the TIP, to get a single member of the legislature or Congress to find a single nickel in additional funding commitments.
Many of these self help counties have local sales tax commitments, which could have been used to move this project forward, and none of them did. Worse, this project apparently couldn't even find any Bay Area Congressional champion who was willing to include it, in the largest public works "stimulus" package in my lifetime, at the height of the "great recession" or any other TEA funding, then or since. In fact, at this key decision point these articles appear to show that the locals, supposedly "on board' with Dumbarton, were publicly fighting with each other, over whether they wanted it at all.
Direct, frequent, fast local and express and/or HS service from SFO and the Peninsula, via Dumbarton, to the 580 corridor and the Valley beyond, would have significant demand if done right. Three or four peak trains as was basically proposed in the older plan, and no funding for the work needed to upgrade Altamont, was not going to "do it right", for the then estimated $600,000,000 price tag for Dumbarton, as the Grand Jury noted.
These much more recent and newer plans are too still "trying" to cobble together what we should be doing, in anticipation of, and in response to, the political push just provided, in the Gas Tax compromise to extend ACE to Modesto and/or on to Merced.
The biggest failure, and he "nine hundred pound gorilla" in the room has really been the CHSRA fiasco. It is really our poorly conceived HSR plan and the giant "sucking sound" of the "runaway money train" building the costly bloated "stranded investment' between Chowchilla and Wasco, that is still the biggest obstacle to doing Dumbarton-Altamont as it should be done.
It is this misbegotten "promise" that has sorely tested and is pissing away the voters good will, while pissing away a vast majority of our scarce taxpayer dollars which might have been available to fund far more cost effective and efficient rail passenger projects through out CA, that has been by far the biggest problem, in short changing potentially far better performing projects, like Dumbarton-Altamont.
The continued decision to go south out of San Jose to connect to the Valley via Pacheco, which is much more expensive, and for which I see no sufficient funding, even when we're done in the Valley, even if we suck up every dime of Carbon funds, even with the Carbon funds extension, and the still lacking political support in the Bay Area, are still the two biggest hurdles facing any Dumbarton-Altamont funding. .