Monday, November 17, 2008

Hi-Speed Rail Chief Goes Short

One of the selling points for California's high-speed rail network was the promise that its San Francisco terminus would be at a new Transbay Terminal, the multimodal transportation center in the heart of the city. California Proposition 1A expressly stated:
It is the intent of the Legislature by enacting this chapter and of the people of California by approving the bond measure pursuant to this chapter to initiate the construction of a high-speed train system that connects the San Francisco Transbay Terminal to Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim...
The blog Rincon Bay reports that Quentin Kopp, chair of the California High-Speed Railroad Authority, may be trying to backpedal on that due to the high cost of the last mile of track.
“We do not need First and Mission. I am satisfied with Fourth and Townsend.”
Fourth and Townsend is the location of Caltrain's San Francisco terminal. It's over a mile from there to downtown, meaning commuters must change to a bus or LRV to reach their final destination. This added inconvenience no doubt keeps many commuters on the highway when they could be riding the railway.

Plans for Transbay, to be known as Transbay Transit Center, call for Caltrain to run their, as well, so the cost of the extension would be spread among the commuter and high-speed line. As Kevin Kostner said in Field of Dreams, "if you build it, they will come." As Cuba Gooding Jr. said in another sports flick, Jerry Maguire, "Show me the money."

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