Dumbarton Rail funding decision delayed to September

The MTC last month decided to postpone a vote on taking $91 million slated for Dumbarton Rail and giving it to the Warm Springs BART Extension. The Dumbarton Rail Committee voted to oppose the transfer. To no one’s surprise, Union City’s representative voted against the transfer and Fremont’s voted for it.

Yesterday, the Congestion Management Authority endorsed the transfer.


More bad news for Dumbarton Rail

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.


County Grand Jury cool to Dumbarton Rail project

One month after the Santa Clara County Grand Jury issued a mostly critical report on the Dumbarton Rail Project, the Alameda County Grand Jury has issued its own report. The grand jury didn’t say the project should be scrapped, in fact it didn’t really say much at all. It did express concern that “funding projections for this project were significantly understated in the voter guide.”

If it is ever built, the rail line would send trains from Union City’s BART station across the Bay to the Redwood City Caltrain Station and then to San Jose and San Francisco. With money tight, the plan is now to complete a rail line from a future station in Newark to San Mateo County.

The Grand Jury didn’t think that would accomplish much, and said that turning Union City’s BART station into an intermodal transit hub (BART, Dumbarton Rail, ACE, Capital Corridor) should be a county priority. That is already Union City’s top priority.

To see the grand jury report, click here. The Dumbarton report starts on page 35.