The Bay area Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has scheduled a public hearing before the Programming and Allocations Committee to discuss redirecting the funds allocated to the Dumbarton Rail Corridor (DRC) from the DRC to other transportation projects. This proposal seems to signal that any substantive political support for the DRC has evaporated and it is time to stop spending money on the project. It has only taken since 2005 for the message to sink in that the DRC is not a wise expenditure of taxpayer money.
The link to the MTC Public Hearing is at: http://www.mtc.ca.gov/meetings/hearings/4-9-14.htm
It is listed as Project #4 and reads as follows:
Project No. 4, East to West Bay Commuter Rail Service over Dumbarton Rail Bridge
Current Total RM2 Funding: $44.0 million
Proposed Total RM2 Funding: $9.1 million
Proposed Funding Change: -$34.8 million
Action: Redirect project funds to projects #29 and #40, remove project condition
What this translates into is that when Regional Measure 2 was approved by voters circa 2004 a total of $135M was allocated to the DRC. $44M of the original $135M allocated to the DRC is available to be redirected. [Please note that it is titled the East to West Bay Commuter Rail Service over Dumbarton Bridge but don’t worry, it is the DRC.]
$9.1 M has been spent on staff and consultants to develop the draft environmental report which is apparently going to be shelved and not sent out for public comment. $34.8M will be redirected to two existing projects – The Caltrain electrification on the Peninsula and the Dumbarton Express bus service. In addition repayment of $91M that was redirected to Alameda County for the Warm Springs BART extension in 2009 will be in a sense forgiven and repayment not required.
Since the original allocation of $135M to DRC was part of a publically supported ballot measure there must be a public hearing to consider the changes.
While this step certainly places the DRC out of the immediate picture – hopefully in perpetuity – there are still rail initiatives which present a clear and present danger to neighborhoods in Fremont especially Niles. The Capitol Corridor’s plans to expand service between Oakland and San Jose, the ACE train’s plans to expand service from the San Joaquin valley through Fremont to San Jose as well as the potential impacts of expanded rail freight through the area offer enough complexities that interested parties need to remain vigilant.
On 25 Mar 2014 a letter was sent to the MTC supporting this change in allocation of DRC funds which is being listed under MTC Resolution 3801. That letter and some ancillary materials are posted to this webpage.