MTC Wants to Bury Dumbarton Rail

MTC Wants to Bury
Dumbarton Rail

05/10/14 Filed in:

The staff report for MTC’s Planning and
Allocations meeting, Wednesday, May 14 at 9:40 am
lays out MTC’s plans to bury the Dumbarton Rail
project. Transit advocates have often noted that
this project is the only possible way to avoid the
cost of a new multibillion Transbay tunnel to deal
with the lack of capacity in BART’s Transbay tube.
On April 23, TRANSDEF filed comments [this file without exhibits]
with MTC, asserting legal arguments for why the
proposed elimination of Regional Measure 2 funding
for the Dumbarton Rail Project would be both
illegal and unwise. [Comment file with the
full set of
exhibits
.]
After refusing to put $300 million
into Dumbarton Rail, while putting far more than that
into new HOT lanes, MTC now has the gall to say that
the project must be cancelled for lack of funding.
This is reminiscent of Congress reducing food stamps
so that it can increase subsidies for agribusiness.
It also sounds like the classic plea to the judge by
the man that had killed his parents: “Your honor,
please have mercy on me for I am an orphan.”

This move is especially grievous because a draft
EIR/EIS has been prepared, but is now sitting on the
shelf because FTA won’t sign off on the EIS until the
project is fully funded. Sufficient mitigations were
built into the plan to make it acceptable to the Don
Edwards Wildlife Refuge. Faux concern about impacts
on the Refuge had been the heavily promoted
environmental rationale for the CHSRA’s selection of
the Pacheco pass over the Altamont pass for the HSR
connection to the Bay Area.

TRANSDEF sued MTC when it shifted $91
million from Dumbarton Rail to Warm Springs
BART
. The
promise had been that the money would be repaid by
Alameda County (ACTIA) in later years, when
Dumbarton funding had been assembled. MTC now
proposes to convert that transfer from a loan into
a grant, so that the Dumbarton Project wouldn’t
have to be repaid. That adds insult to injury.

Many
transit advocates believe that MTC’s continued
hostility towards Dumbarton Rail exhibits its
subservience to the forces that insisted on the
selection of the Pacheco HSR route for their private
benefit. Killing Dumbarton Rail protects the
falsehood that there is no environmentally sensitive
way to cross the Bay in the Redwood City area.

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