On Wednesday, July 7, 2010, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) received word that the Federal Transportation Administration granted federal and environmental clearance for the first 10-mile phase of a 16-mile extension of BART from Warm Springs, located in Fremont, CA to San Jose, CA.
The Silicon Valley project is an extension of the existing BART routes to Milpitas, San Jose, and Santa Clara. The project currently contemplates on terminating the extension in Santa Clara, near the existing Caltrain station. In the Santa Clara’s station design, it will include both a maintenance and vehicle storage yard.
Construction for the extension is proposed to begin in 2012 and passenger service will be available in 2018. With this recent announcement, the VTA received a second $40 million allocation of the $239 million project cost—being the first $40 million allocation granted last July 2009. The total project for the 16 mile Warm Springs extension has an estimated of $6 billion.
In 2000, Santa Clara County taxpayers approved a 30 year half-cent sales tax to build the extension and to make other transit improvements throughout the county. This had caused much controversy at the time as many transit advocates had questioned if there was even a need to replace the already VTA light rail service between Warm Springs and San Jose with this proposed extension.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted the Regional Transit Expansion Plan as Resolution 1876 in 1988 and updated it to Resolution 3434 in 2001, which focuses largely on BART expansion. The plan relies on a complex financial design involving federal, state, and county funds for the BART extension from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to various East Bay extensions such as Pittsburg-Bay Point, Dublin-Pleasanton, and more recently, the proposed Warm Springs-Fremont that has yet to be built. Once the SFO extension was approved, San Mateo County contributed to both East Bay BART extensions by collecting a transportation sales tax of $200. No money, however, was granted to be allocated for San Francisco County projects. San Francisco is a member of the BART district as well.
James Fang, who has been the Richmond 8th BART District Representative of San Francisco since December 1990, has voted for the East Bay extensions but has yet to seek any regional public transit funds for his very own district. Presently, taxpayers in the Richmond 8th BART District have been paying for BART services since the conception of the district in 1972, but still have not received any direct services whatsoever.
On the Geary Street Transit Corridor, the Muni Bus Line 38 in the Richmond 8th District bisects the city from the residential 48th Avenue to downtown Market Street. Geary Boulevard is the most heavily used transit corridor in the northern part of San Francisco. Over 50,000 daily transit riders rely on Geary bus service, which unfortunately, is often unreliable and overcrowded.
From the time he was elected, Jake McGoldrick, former San Francisco 12th District Supervisor, has been concerned about improving public transit for the residents in the district. McGoldrick was elected in 2001 by the Board of Directors as Chair of the San Francisco Transportation Authority. As Chair, he strongly advocated for improvement of public transit along the Geary Street Corridor through plans for the development of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system within the district. Furthermore, McGoldrick tried to drastically improve public transit conditions in the district by serving as a Board Member of the Golden Gate Bridge Bridge, Highway and Transportation District from 2003 till 2009.
In the 20 years that Fang has been elected to represented the Richmond 8th BART District, he has done very little to improve public transit for his constituents. No new BART facilities have been built in the district as other BART district representatives have done. The BART District Directors of both Contra Costa and Alameda counties have made sure to receive funds to help build BART extensions and to improve public transit within their districts.
McGoldrick, on the other hand, as Chair of the San Francisco Transportation Authority, has sponsored the construction of the BRT along the Geary Street Corridor and has consistently searched for federal, state, and regional funding to help assemble an efficient public transit system for the residents of the Richmond District.
This upcoming November, San Francisco Richmond 8th BART District residents will have the opportunity to vote for a new BART district representative. It is time for Richmond residents to elect a BART district representative who will properly advocate for improvement of public transit and I believe the one who can get the job done is Jake McGoldrick.
If you agree, please show Jake your support for him as a candidate for the Richmond 8th BART District Representative by becoming a fan of his Facebook page today!
Contact Bruce Balshone at firstname.lastname@example.org