Tuesday, May 06, 2008

BART Debate in the Merc

Gary Richards, aka "Mr Roadshow", recently printed a batch of letters pro and con the BART/SJ project in his column, including one by yours truly. It got edited down a bit... here's what I actually wrote:

Who but the VTA would be upset that they "only" have $8.7 billion?

The VTA warns us that sacrifices will be necessary to bring BART to San Jose--first dropping all other transportation projects from the agenda, and then passing another sales tax.

Suppose we drop BART for something we can actually afford (run ACE trains on a half-hourly schedule?--and note that improvements to ACE are actually authorized by the 2000 Measure A language)--all of the sudden, $8.7 billion starts to sound like a lot of money again, with funds left over for new light rail, rapid bus, CalTrain electrification, etc.

Here's a newsflash to the VTA: us voters liked BART when you said we could afford it. We don't want to pay another tax, and we don't want a BART extension that ends in Milpitas (a nice way of committing us to another tax down the road, so that we can finish what we've started--we're not falling for that one!). Before you ask us for more money, how about trying to do something useful with what we've already given you?

Some of the other writers has interesting things to say, too! :)

It's good to see some actual public discussion of this issue, and the Merc printing more than the BARTista line fed to it by the SVLG.

Thanks to Richard Masoner of Cyclelicio.US for pointing this article out to me.

For further reading on BART-to-SJ, I recommend VTAWatch, who puts it better than me.

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