Sunday, March 15, 2009

Court Ruling Could Revive Dumbarton Caltrain Plan

The Dumbarton Rail Corridor is a planned project to extend Caltrain service from Redwood Junction to Union City, CA, via a freight branch abandoned by the Southern Pacific Railroad that crossed the lower reached on San Francisco Bay via a trestle and swing bridge known as the Dumbarton Bridge. The terminal for the new branch would be a "union" station where passengers could transfer to Amtrak's Capitol Corridor, Altamont Commuter Express and BART, as well as East Bay bus routes. The line's purpose is to improve connecticity and give East Bay residents a new alternative for commuting to jobs in Silicon Valley.

The San Mateo County Transportation Authority website says the service will commence in 2012. However, in January the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), a regional planning organization, transferred $91 million earmarked for the Dumbarton line to a project to extend a BART route from Fremont to Warm Springs, "which put the Dumbarton plan on hold indefinitely."

That decision didn't sit well with the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (Transdef), which file suit to block the transfer of funds. A judge is expected to rule on the case this week.

Transdef contends MTC's action was illegal since the BART extension was not among the projects funded by
Regional Measure 2, a 2004 voter-approved $1 toll increase to Bay Area bridges to fund local transportation projects. "The Dumbarton Rail project meets the regional connection needs outlined in Measure 2, whereas the "dead-end" Warm Springs project does not, the suit says."

MTC responding brief contends "
the Warm Springs project is "shovel ready" and has a much smaller funding gap than the Dumbarton Rail project." According to the San Jose Mercurcy News, the agency has no plans to fund Dumbarton until 2019.

No comments:

Post a Comment