On Monday, May 23, two non-profit organizations filed an amended taxpayer lawsuit against the Valley Link project, which proposes to build a $3.6 billion dollar rail line connecting the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and North Lathrop in San Joaquin County.
The largest project cost element is the demolition and relocation of the I-580 freeway to make room for the tracks. Over a billion dollars would be wasted tearing up eleven miles of recently built freeway, adding no transportation capacity in itself.
David Schonbrunn, President of the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF) stated that “We want to nip this in the bud, before the project metastasizes into a mini-version of the High-Speed Rail boondoggle.”
The suit is filed against the Tri-Valley — San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority, the sponsor of the Valley Link project, along with the Alameda County Transportation Commission, a major future funder of the project, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is funding the project’s development.
Marcus Crawley is both a party to the suit and President of the Alameda County Taxpayers’ Association, another party. He said, “The Legislature created the Authority to fill in a 5-mile gap between BART and ACE, but their ‘mission creep’ resulted in a project 42 miles long. We have to put a stop to this wasteful and illegal empire-building.”
The lawsuit’s principal claims:
- The Authority has grossly exceeded its legal mandate.
- The Alameda County Transportation Commission illegally shifted $400 million in 2014 Measure BB funds from the BART-Livermore Extension to Valley Link.
- The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is illegally funding Valley Link with bridge tolls that were supposed to pay for seismic retrofits. It is operating a slush fund.
The 83-page Amended Complaint
The Alameda County Taxpayers’ Association advocates for accountability in government.
The Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund is an environmental organization advocating for transit use and effective use of public funds.