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More bad news for Dumbarton Rail

By Matt Artz
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 at 12:13 am in Dumbarton Rail, Union City.

Not only is Dumbarton Rail way underfunded, a new study concludes the proposed rail line linking Union City and Redwood City won’t generate as many riders as first thought.

In 2003, when Bay Area voters approved money for the project, the ridership estimate was 11,700 by 2030. The newest estimate is 5,900 by 2035.
Ridership projections for all major transit operators are down from the 2003 projections.The reason is a change in data inputs and assumptions used in the forecasts, according to a report submitted by Dumbarton Rail Project Manager Paul Matsuoka.

Next week, MTC considers transferring $91 million of money earmarked for Dumbarton Rail to the Warm Springs BART extension. The transfer would likely set back Dumbarton Rail a decade.

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  • Michael G

    What is the new ridership estimate for Warm Springs BART?

    The previous estimate was 7,200 daily trips by 2025.
    http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/wsx/index.aspx

  • Michael G

    Even with another $91M, isn’t Warm Springs still grossly underfunded? The top two figures from BART’s Warm Springs web page
    http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/wsx/index.aspx
    are not yet available:

    “$222 million from the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA), Measure B Tier 1″ can’t be used yet, because of restrictions in Measure B:

    “Funds for construction of the first segment of the BART rail extension to Warm Springs in Southern Fremont may not be used until full funding for the rail connection to Santa Clara County is assured.”
    http://www.acta2002.com/pdfs/expenditure_plan_v14.pdf

    Santa Clara County is currently struggling to find full funding, such as with yet another sales tax.

    “$145 million from the San Francisco International Airport Extension Surplus” doesn’t exist. It was wishful thinking to expect fares to exceed operating costs on the SFO extension.

    The $222M may eventually become available, but the $145M likely never will.

  • Matt Artz

    BART to Warm Springs is nearly fully-funded. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_20080212/ai_n21415332

    Route 84 is now called the 238 east-west separator project, but most people know it as Route 84

  • Michael G

    Matt Artz Says: “BART to Warm Springs is nearly fully-funded.”

    The article pegged the total price at $747M, but the BART web page now says $890M.

    Hmm, the BART web page changed since my earlier comment. Here’s the Google cache of the old page:

    The total project budget for the Warm Springs Extension is approximately $747 million (in 2007 dollars). The various funding partners and their share in the total project are as follows:

    * $222 million from the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA), Measure B Tier 1
    * $145 million from the San Francisco International Airport Extension Surplus
    * $100 million from the Traffic Congestion Relief Program (TCRP)
    * $84 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Regional Measure 1 Bridge Tolls
    * $69 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
    * $85 million from the MTC Regional Measure 2 Bridge Tolls
    * $2 million from the Alameda County CMA
    * $20 million from MTC Proposition 1B
    * $20 million from BART

    Here’s the new page:

    The total project budget for the Warm Springs Extension is approximately $890 million dollars. The various funding partners and their share in the total project are as follows:

    * $220.4 million from the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA), Measure B Tier 1
    * $100.4 million from the State Traffic Congestion Relief Program
    * $176 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Regional Measure 2 Bridge Toll
    * $118 million from the MTC, Regional Measure 1 Bridge Tolls
    * $69 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
    * $2.2 million from the Alameda County CMA
    * $40 million from MTC Proposition 1B – 50% BART (Revenue Based), 50% MTC(Population Based)
    * $86 million Proposition 1B State & Local Partnership Program (SLPP)
    * $24 million BART Agency Contribution
    * $54 million SFO Extension Surplus Revenue

    The most obvious change is they’re already counting the extra $91M from Measure 2 bridge tolls, a week before the vote. That money hasn’t been approved yet. The ACTIA money is still waiting on Santa Clara County, and the SFO surplus is still wishful thinking.

  • Michael G

    “Ridership projections for all major transit operators are down from the 2003 projections. The reason is a change in data inputs and assumptions used in the forecasts”

    I’m still wondering about updated ridership figures for Warm Springs. If Dumbarton projections were cut in half, what about Warm Springs?

    We’re now looking at $890M for 5.4 miles of track and one station. That’s hard to justify even for the current rider projections (4,700 daily trips upon opening and 7,200 daily trips by 2025).

    Is that really the best use of nearly a billion dollars?

  • Mike Dubinsky

    The transfer of funding to the BART makes perfect sense in today’s economic climate. As taxpayers we should be supporting the transit projects that will deliver the most value added. Dumbarton Rail continues to be a project looking for a reason. Hopefully our elected officials and public officals will have the common sense and courage to make the decision to move BART projects forward and not try to pursue every project that people can think up.

  • marty

    What’s even harder to justify having bridge commuters pay a dollar a day for a Bart extension in south Fremont.

    Bridge commuters are due a refund of around $650, and the toll increase should be rescinded. A revised transportation measure including the Bart extension should then be put to a vote. The projects should then be funded by the general fund.

    Allowing the voter to fleece one segment of the commuter population to pay for other’s benefit is criminal.

    I really feel horrible for the future transportation needs of our state. I honestly think this state is going to be a sh*t hole in 10 years.

  • Doug

    The quote “ridership projections are down” seems outdated. This from a survey done since gas went north of $4.

    “Americans used public transportation in record numbers the first three months of this year, according to the APTA. They took 2.6 billion trips on public transportation during that period, an increase of 85 million more trips compared with the same period last year.

    Meanwhile, the number behind the wheel dropped. Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles from April 2007 through April 2008, according to figures released by the Department of Transportation in June. The numbers represented the sixth consecutive monthly drop.”

  • Coyote Bill

    When Bart goes to San Jose Diridon train station, I question the need for the Dumbarton Commuter Rail.
    Between Bart and Amtrak they will circle the bay, finally

  • Michael G

    Coyote Bill Says: “When Bart goes to San Jose Diridon train station, I question the need for the Dumbarton Commuter Rail. Between Bart and Amtrak they will circle the bay, finally”

    Union City to Palo Alto via San Jose?

    (When you say “Amtrak”, do you mean Caltrain, or Capitol Corridor?)

  • Marty

    Bill, a 2 hour trip to travel 15 lateral miles. What are you thinking?

  • Michael G

    marty Says: “What’s even harder to justify having bridge commuters pay a dollar a day for a Bart extension in south Fremont. … A revised transportation measure including the Bart extension should then be put to a vote.”

    Regional Measure 2 DID include money for BART to Warm Springs. We already had that vote, and it passed.

    The bridge toll measures are meant to fund projects to get people to and from the bridges, not just across. For example, Warm Springs to Palo Alto.

  • Michael G

    Mike Dubinsky Says: “The transfer of funding to the BART makes perfect sense in today’s economic climate. As taxpayers we should be supporting the transit projects that will deliver the most value added.”

    BART to Warm Springs is now $890 million for one station, serving a few thousand round trips. That would make it the least cost-effective BART extension ever.

    They gave up asking for federal funds because they knew it does not meed federal cost-effectiveness requirements. Apparently, regional and state funding sources aren’t so picky about “most value added”.

    Really, there’s nothing better we could do with nearly a billion dollars?

  • marty

    Michael, the measure was billed as congestion relief for the bay area bridges. A trans-bay rail line was one of the key components.

  • marty

    Nevertheless, Any tax increase targeted at expanding Bart is surely doomed, and has been for a decades. RM 2 was attractive to the transportation authorities in that it wasn’t a tax increase, it was a fee; so only a simple majority was needed. And, voters were able to stick it to a minority of commuters, costing the majority of people in the Bay Area nothing.

    As it turns out, RM 2 was a Bart measure paid for by bridge commuters. Most ongoing projects funded by RM 2 are window dressing.

  • Jon Simon

    The focus needs to move away from long distance transit and towards people working near or at home, with easy local mass transit. BART isn’t a good deal because population density is too low and the distances traveled are too far.

  • Michael G

    marty Says: “the measure was billed as congestion relief for the bay area bridges. A trans-bay rail line was one of the key components.”

    Right, though RM 2 was quite a potpourri of projects:
    http://www.mtc.ca.gov/legislation/rm2-qa.htm

    Fremont doesn’t like Dumbarton Rail, putting their sole transit focus on Warm Springs BART. Including Warm Springs in RM 2 might have been a political decision to get Fremont’s support for RM 2. (And similar stories could probably be told for some other RM 2 projects.)

    Now the costs for both Dumbarton Rail and Warm Springs BART are going up. The link above says “What happens if a project included in the plan runs into problems down the road? Can a new project be substituted? Yes. The legislation permits the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to redirect the funds for a regional transit project within the same bridge corridor”

    That suggests neither Dumbarton Rail nor Warm Springs BART should get the others’ money since they’re both in (financial) trouble. For either one, is there a new project we can substitue?