The very short rail link California can’t build

By Joe Mathews : vstar – except

How will California ever finish high-speed rail when it can’t finish San Francisco’s Downtown Rail Extension?

Twenty-three years ago, a restaurateur and wine shop owner named Gavin Newsom was appointed to his first political gig, as a San Francisco parking-and-traffic commissioner. Back then, a top priority of San Francisco transportation officials was a proposed 1.3 mile-rail line called the Downtown Rail Extension, or DTX, to connect the city’s commuter rail station with downtown.

All these years later, DTX remains little more than a plan, as yet unrealized. As such, it embodies the failure of transportation execution that Newsom now confronts in California… (more)

Comments welcome at the source or here.

Monitor warns contractor disputes could further delay Central Subway project

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez: sfexainer – excerpt

Contract disputes are threatening to further delay Muni’s $1.6 billion Central Subway project, potentially pushing it past its targeted opening date of December 2019 into mid-2020, or beyond.

That’s the warning from the project’s independent monitor, known as a Project Management Oversight Contractor, in a March 5 report to the federal government.

The oversight contractor warned that ongoing contract disputes between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Central Subway construction contractor, Tutor Perini Corporation, threaten the project’s schedule and budget… (more)

Tri-Valley Chamber Alliance Supports Valley Link Rail Project

independentnews – excerpt

Weighing in as the Tri-Valley Chamber of Commerce Alliance, the Danville, Dublin, Livermore Valley, Pleasanton and San Ramon Chambers of Commerce officially announced support for Valley Link, a future rail line connecting the San Joaquin Valley with the Bay Area Regional Transit (BART) system at its end of the line Dublin/Pleasanton station in the Tri-Valley I-580 corridor. The TVCAA submitted a letter and made its announcement at the March 13 meeting of the board of directors overseeing the project… (more)

Chinese in America & Transcontinental Railroad

History on the 150th Anniversary of the The First Transcontinental Railroad – excerpt


– excerptThe First Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th Anniversary on May 10, 2019 will have layers of history and meaning, especially for Chinese-Americans whose family roots include builders of the railroad. The date will also mark a civil rights tribute—to successes in resetting the historical record and honoring pioneers of the not-so-distant past. At Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, the driving of the Golden Spike marked the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion—but also a historical injustice. Left out of the historic ceremony were the 12,000 Chinese railroad workers, of whom over 400 had died during construction.

ASAMNEWS: Corky Lee stages “an act of photographic justice” for Asian Americans


Photographer Corky Lee has dedicated much of his life documenting the Asian American experience through photographs. The omission of Chinese from the official photo commemorating the completion of [the Transcontinental Railroad] was one of the motivating factors behind his passion for photography (photo by Corky Lee).

The Bay Area’s 11 biggest transportation projects

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

When will they be done?

As more people come to the Bay Area and the trips to and from work become longer, commuters frequently find themselves white-knuckling the steering wheel, jostling for space on a bus or train, or simply dreaming of better days. While the problem of overcrowding on public transit and highways is unlikely to be solved any time soon, here are 11 major transportation projects that should improve the daily commute… (more)

Los Angeles Rail: Ridership Decline Estimated at 42 Percent

By Wendell Cox : newgeography – excerpt

The Reason Foundation has just published an important review of transit in Los Angeles County, by transportation consultant Thomas A. Rubin and University of Southern California Professor James E. Moore II. A total of four reports have been released, under the title A Critical Review of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan. Links are provided at the end of this article. More reports are to follow.

Rubin, former Chief Financial Officer at the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) and founder of the Deloitte transportation practice, and Professor Moore have published extensively on transportation issues, and in particular, on developments in Los Angeles.

Background on the Rail and Busway System

Four decades ago (1980), Los Angeles County embarked on a huge rail transit development program, when the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) adopted Proposition A, which was enacted by the voters and took effect after successfully defending a California state Supreme Court challenge (Note). As a board member of LACTC, I was pleased to have drafted and introduced the amendment that created the rail funding set aside in Proposition A, out of a belief that such a system would alleviate traffic congestion in Los Angeles. Experience has proven otherwise, as traffic delays per commuter have risen 60 percent since the early 1980s, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute Annual Mobility Report.

Financial Assessment

Rubin and Moore demonstrate that building the rail (and fixed busway) system has cost considerably more than anticipated while the revenue from the multiple sales taxes passed by voters has fallen short of projections. Nearly $20 billion (not inflation adjusted) was spent on construction through 2016…

Links to the four reports are below.

1. Introduction, Overview, and the Birth of Transit in Los Angeles
2. The Rise of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
3. Metro’s Transit Ridership Is Declining
4. Metro’s Long Range Plans Overpromise and Underdeliver

Note: LACTC and SCRTD merged in 1993, creating Metro (the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority).…(more)