In response to the BART to Warm Springs story I wrote earlier this week, I got this letter from former BART Board Member Roy Nakadegawa. He thinks the extension (WSX) is too expensive and raises some interesting points:
As a former BART Board Member who’s efforts was for BART to be concerned with our environment, cost, effectiveness and social equity. With BART’s Warm Springs Extension, I have been concerned in that it is located in an area that presently has little existing development of any magnitude and that two thousand parking spaces will be built to generate its ridership.
From an environmental standpoint and cost, this will not foster Smart Growth, reduce Greenhouse Gas of any magnitude, or
encourage Transit Oriented Development, which BART should endeavor to do.
I was encouraged that The Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority had established a policy for BART Warm Springs Extension on the use of Measure B funds. The policy was ACTIA will grant Measure B funds to this project until San Jose BART Extension (SJX) project funding was assured. Presently VTA has encountered long and drawn out financial problems for the construction and operation of SJX and this project is still not an assured project.
The WSX project alone is costing $747 million, which was the estimate back in 2003. This is about $100 million over the original estimate of around year 2000. Since then I am sure the cost has risen even more in the last few years because it has been reported that cost of construction materials has greatly escalated and has increased contract costs 30+%.
WSX as a stand-alone project, is a very costly and ineffective project because its estimated ridership is only 7,000 trips per day after 20 years costing $747 million! This ridership may increase several times more if VTA manages to build its $4.7 billion SJX extension (again this cost needs revision), making WSX a more viable project.