Friday, June 14, 2013

Considerations for Future BART...BART Around The Bay.

Recall that BART was originally planned and legislated to be around the Bay.

The following Comment was submitted to the Future BART page on Friday, 06-14-13:

BART's Future Plans to consider the long-range ultimate, back to the future, BART Around The Bay as originally envisioned must be resurrected due to the humongous benefit this Complete BART solution provides for bay area transit users and BART's cost-effective efficiency.

Accomplish this wise BART expansion at relatively low cost by replacing Caltrain in the Peninsula Corridor, 15 miles of which from Millbrae to SF has not even upgraded Caltrain to the standard and basic BART grade-separation, electrification, and frequency configuration that BART has.

Investing in Caltrain in the Peninsula, and its Dumbarton Rail resurrection in the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge as yet another intra-regional rail line is a huge WASTE of taxpayer transit subsidy dollars, dollars that can be better used to optimize BART around the whole Bay.
Note: HSR can fund its own needs in or near the Caltrain corridor just as BART can up the Peninsula.

That is, either directly in the Peninsula Corridor or adjacent to it, like the Millbrae, new San Bruno segment.  Building three heavy rail systems in the Peninsula is a waste of precious transit dollars on the most expensive type of transit system to both build and operate.  Really, only one heavy rail system is needed north of San Jose --that is, BART.  HSR can stop at SJ--where Plan Bay Area documents that future growth will occur.
Please see my other blog posts here in: BART AROUND THE BAY for more detail of the advantages of studying closing the last 28 mile BART gap from Millbrae to the planned SJ/Santa Clara terminus, especially rather than more diluting rail investment in the suboptimal Caltrain.

BART efficiency and redundancy in a Complete BART one-seat two-way travel around the bay that could send trains in the opposite direction to bypass one track or tube problem area failure elsewhere,  or a future Bay Bridge failure (earthquake), provides a united single backbone arterial high capacity rail system, BART, satisfies the essential transit riders' need for one-seat reliability, cost efficiency, and emergency capabilities--rather than throwing another $5 Billion+ into the wasteful, deadly, disjointed, Caltrain on the Peninsula. This $5 Billion spending of precious transit dollars for Caltrain would wastefully duplicate and delay BART service and investments already, but would be better spent on this original and ever more pressing need for Complete BART around the SF Bay.

Note, too, that Santa Clara County and San Mateo have both voted to sales tax themselves specifically for BART purposes. Santa Clara County residents are paying .375% in two ballot measures that passed, the latest in 2008 by about 67% approval in Palo Alto and Mountain View despite neither community being on a Future BART plan, BART Around The Bay -- yet!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

CA HSR Contract issued to TPZP, with serious issues. Better to spend taxes and jobs on key CA road alternatives

This comment was posted to the Orange County Register website report of today's award of the first major contract for CA HSR in the Central Valley to Tutor-Perini-Zachary-Parsons consortium for the stretch from Madera to Bakersfield, CA.

Typical HSR issues in that so many if not most WW HSR projects involve bribery or other corruption. Google HSR and Bribes and Corruption.  Seems like nothing new with Calif's HSR, from the pre-selection of SR152 route alignment, secret link with making it (and other CA"Trade corridors" routes) into Toll roads to help fund HSR operating cost (ala Paris-Lyon France HSR). A review of the now-ruled unconstitutional and illegal Nov 2008 Ballot Measure 1A( 3rd Appellate Court Case C060441, 1/28/11) campaign contributors is the who's who of rail project beneficiaries, including member companies of the TPZP consortium and other CA HSRA contracts.. A 2002 SJ Mercury News discusses Rod Diridon Sr's HSR shenanigans while on the Board (now USHSRAssoc Chair and Tax-gigolo funded "Mineta Transportation Institute Exec Director platform).  All the ballot numbers were wrong/fraudulent.  Even if this is built, the ballot "guarantees" nor intra-venously union-funded Democrats (and a few Repubs--Swearingen) in charge of, or pushing, this blue sky project have any civil or criminal penalty risk at all. Snake Oil at the expense of the taxpayer and govt. integrity.  A trip from SF to LA may take 6 hours or whatever, and no one goes to jail. The project is built on fraud.   Nevertheless, a recent SF Examiner article revealed the long history of Tutor-Perini cost overruns on many of their projects, with Mr Tutor making the same claims for "quality.  Overruns will happen here as well--with no repercussions, just as Parsons Brinkerhoff (a 2008 campaign contributor, like Parsons et al) already got a contract $96 million addition in May 2013.   What a waste of tax monies and union labor when they could be so much better for regional transit and highway improvements in:
Southern California  (Metrolink, Coaster, Red Line, I-5, SRs 14, 18, 58, 74, 76, 79, 90,138, US395),
Northern California (BART around the Bay, SR152-no tolls, SRs 20, 36, 37 (urgent!), 65, 84, 102, 130,  148, 238 etc) and
Central Valley (I-5 to 6 or 8 lanes from SR99-South to SR99-North or SR138 Grapevine, SRs 43, 46, 48, 58  65(Urgent) (from SR99 to Porterville), 140, 148, 65 (Roseville), 102, I-80,  etc).

Until the Calif Republican Party can update its brand and platform to serve the public, especially the motoring public/voters, including opposing any more toll roads/lanes (to fund HSR, especially), buying out all existing Toll Roads for all to use, then the CA Democrats can and will get away with all this!  Mr. Tweed, Democrat, might have been quite pleased with CA HSR.