Thursday, August 10, 2017

Caltrain electrification is a shame and shill for California's High Speed Rail wasteful boondoggle.  What's worse is that Caltrain/HSR continues to block completion of BART Around The Bay which will serve far more people as a true "Mass Transit" system than a long-since outdated, congesting, pollution-causing, dangerous street-level 55-70mph "unstoppable" million-pound trainset.

Local Democrat politicians and "leaders", such as Silicon Valley Leadership Group's public policy CEO, Democrat Carl Guardino and others perpetrated an untruthful story to Truimp's Washington D.C. Department of Transportation Director, Elaine Chao, that somehow Caltrain Electrification is a separate project from High-Speed Rail.

In fact, since 1995 they have been unified projects, as confirmed by CHSRA's Chairman Dan Richard and S.F. Mayor Ed Lee.  Indeed, when I joined the pro-Caltrain predecessor advocacy group on October 6, 1982, yes 1982, at a kickoff meeting at the behest of then County Supervisors Susanne Wilson and Rail Zealot-at -any-cost-to-taxpayers Rod Diridon, another advocate engaged me in a conversation about the then SP, later Caltrain, Peninsula Corridor being for high-speed rail such as exists in Japan (Tokyo - Osaka route).  Apparently, Diridon had become smitten with HSR upon a visit there.

It is a real shame that all Democrat-led San Jose and Peninsula cities (aka Silicon Valley) and voters allow themselves, to their detriment, to act as dumbbell "suburbs" to narcissistic San Francisco politicos who don't care about their lower Peninsulas residents and communities' well-being, safety, and quality-of-life.

The release of Facebook's $1M Dumbarton Corridor study plus urban planning's SPUR suggestion to extend Caltrain/HSR from SF to Oakland with a new tunnel under the Bay validates my long-time asserting that the cost to extend BART around the Bay the final 30 miles to Millbrae, which will tap every city that any resurrected Dumbarton rail project will "serve", will be the same or less than the ultimate Caltrain/HSR configuration--and serve and carry far more people ("masses"), employ more directly and indirectly, electrified, frequently, safer, and with the bonus of higher farebox recovery.

So, where do we go from here?  I suggest that our Central Valley HSR opponents, legislators, Congressmen, and federal DOT Director and staff demand that any future release of tax monies to Caltrain/HSR require an alternative analysis to study a few configurations of BART 30 miles from San Jose to Millbrae, replacing Caltrain/HSR tracks with BART's, plus one for the occasional freight train, to close the long-planned "loop" and thus create a two-way BART system to not only serve regular one-way commutes, but also provide reliable redundancy station access from the other direction in case of track, equipment, medical or protest shutdown obstructions.

Let our HSR opposing Congresspersons know about this!

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